Our old saying, “The places old time music takes ya!” (spoken with a shake of the head), was taken to new heights the last weekend of March when we found ourselves performing inside of a snow castle on a frozen lake in Yellowknife, NWT, a city and province in Canada that have seven official languages. It seems anything is possible there, as all weekend we were surrounded by activity: dog sled races, cross country skiing, snowmobiles, biplanes, helicopters, hockey and curling tournaments; people were out and about in the “spring” weather.
Bundled in full winter attire, we performed Friday afternoon, and again Saturday night in the Grand Ice Ballroom for the Royal Ball, the culminating event of the month-long festival. The crowd was alight that magical evening, and they danced and sang along, and we felt the love. As we played, we watched from the semi-heated stage (just enough that our fingers weren’t too stiff) as Snowking himself proudly waltzed his wife around the icy dance floor. Snowking is a larger than life character who is often seen from afar wearing a bright yellow coat, has a huge white beard, the most sparklingly handsome blue eyes, and is of good humor, not to mention possesses a clever knack for storytelling and song. He began building snow castles for his children many years ago. Those small “backyard-sized” castles evolved into the annually-built, quite sizable castles like the one we recently spent a great deal of time in. Four to five foot thick hard-packed snow walls, arched hallways and doorways, VIP balcony, translucent glassy ice windows, turrets, flags, ice and snow sculptures, carvings, and accent lighting all make up this grand structure. The best of all though, was…jing-jang-jong…The Ice Slide. We climbed Dead Man’s Stairs to the highest point of the castle, a large turret where one could gaze out across the frozen Great Slave Lake during the day, or gaze at the stars and aurora borealis by night. Then, instead of going back down the stairs: super boring; one could simply hop onto one of the two side-by-side Ice Slides and bomb down a luge-like chute at high speed, right under a snow bridge tunnel, curl out onto the courtyard below, and glide to a stop in front of large gothic ice windows.
The Ice Slide
Then you picked yourself up and sauntered into the ballroom. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Caleb was the fastest among us, gliding the farthest at the bottom of the slide. We also recorded his chilliest X-Man ever at 3 degrees Fahrenheit. After great hesitation, he ventured a perilous X-Man jump on the ice in front of the castle, and landed it without doing the splits, much to his relief.
From the moment that we arrived, to the moment we left, we felt so welcomed by the people of Yellowknife, most especially our new friends on the Snowking crew, and the Aurora Fiddle Society. And we know they have a strong Northern fiddle tradition of their own. They hosted us, fed us, showed us around, chauffeured us, and generally made sure we were taken care of. In return, we performed at the snow castle and taught two days of workshops with the Aurora Fiddle Society, who brought in townspeople, as well as kids from neighboring communities. We taught a string band class, where everyone learned tunes together, and we also broke off into small groups teaching fiddle, guitar, and harmony singing.
Late nights in the castle brought after-show backstage gatherings in the tiny arched snow hallway. I likened it to spending time inside of a beer cooler, only with the beautiful kind of muffled sound that comes from thick snow. Adjacent were a small, greenroom, and Snowking’s office, each lightly heated, each about 6’x6’ rooms with low ceilings, which became gathering places crammed full of people telling stories and talking over cigarettes and drink. Snowking’s office was filled with pictures and notes tacked all over the walls, memorabilia from over the years, and various cross-cut saws hanging up that had been cut in half and handles put on to live on as snow saws. There were yellow coats hanging around on hooks for Snowking security to wear, and wooden benches lining the walls. That was the part of the night where everyone relaxed after the day’s work, and the magic of that little community dazzled a bit more strongly inside those thick snow walls under the northern lights.
We left there a little sad… I think we fell in love a little bit with this community and this great winter event. It just means we will have to return soon and visit the Yellowknifers! Hail Snowking!
We have just finished a 10-day tour of New York, Vermont, and Mass, and though it went by in a flurry, we had a wonderful time meeting new and old friends, experiencing some winter weather, and performing at a couple of festivals for the first time. The tour kicked off February 11th at Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn where we shared the bill with our friends, The Mike & Ruthy Band. Despite cold winds that seemed to blow right through our layers and coats, those hardy New Yorkers ventured out to see the show. We got to catch up with fellow musician friends, cousins, and old pals. We went on with the Mike & Ruthy Band to Albany the next day to perform at The Linda, WAMC’s beautiful performance space. Of course we were a bit sleep deprived that night after staying up talking around Mike & Ruthy’s kitchen table until 5am the night before. That is not the first time that has happened at that kitchen table I am sure. With a fire in the wood stove, and records spinning, it took many hours to get on to sleeping. Nice to catch up with old friends.
The following day, as we made our way to Framingham, Mass to perform at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, we stopped off in the Hudson Valley to do a video shoot for the OldTone Roots Music Festival. They are beginning promotions for this year’s festival in September. Foghorn will be there! The guys were pro and we filmed a few songs and tunes in a beautiful refurbished (and heated) barn. Keep an eye out for these videos. This will be the second annual OldTone Roots Music Festival, and I’ve a feeling, with the mission behind this festival, that it will become a sought after event for the summer season. The curators of the festival are three friends who have an ear for music that is firmly rooted, yet alive and kicking. I think many people are longing for these kinds of sounds these days with all the commercialized music that is forced upon us all the time. So, come join us there in September!
We had a fantastic weekend at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival just outside of Boston in Framingham, MASS. From the moment we walked in the door, the festival had a welcoming and friendly air, and folks there really embraced the Foghorn Stringband, despite the fact that we are an old time string band! Ha! We like to dispel the bluegrass vs old time chasm as frequently as possible as these musics are so intertwined, and we love them all. It’s all country music as far as I’m concerned! We felt well-loved and met many new friends and fans. The festival is held in the Sheraton Hotel, and with the winter weather, there was really no reason at all to go outside. We had everything we needed indoors: tunes, food, and our beds. We performed a main stage set, as well as the Sunday night dance to close the festival. We hope to go back there soon! It is a wonderful tribute to the music of Joe Val.
Monday morning came awfully early after staying up til the wee hours playing tunes and visiting with pals at Joe Val, and we had to drive to Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod to play on WOMR Radio. Afterwards, we made our way back down the cape to Orleans, where we were hosted by Dinah who curates the Brick Hill House Concert series. It was snowing and blowing and yet folks trickled in for the evening performance. They were such a warm and receptive audience, and we had a great time putting on a show for them. Tuesday night took us to Northampton, MASS to the Parlor Room at Signature Sounds. This is always a great audience for us. Those folks show the love. Nice to see so many new faces there too. It’s a pleasure to play there. We drove to Burlington, VT the next day for a show at Nectars. The Burlingtonians (is that what you are called?) must have been busy with other things that night, as not so many came out to see us, but those that did made it worthwhile. We stayed with friends on the shores of Lake Champlain, home to many fat squirrels enjoying the winter fare from the multitude of bird feeders hanging outside. The lake didn’t freeze over this year, but we watched ice floats drift by along the shore. Our good buddy and musical collaborator, Joel Savoy showed up a day early for the weekend Spice on Snow Festival in Montpelier, VT that we would all perform at together as Foghorn Stringband, and Cajun Country Revival.
Spice on Snow is in it’s sixth year I believe, and what a sweet festival it is. Perfectly intimate, and everything is right downtown, so it is not hard to decide what to do, as it is all within a few blocks’ walk. We arrived in Montpelier on Thursday, and Foghorn played for the square dance at the Legion Hall right in town. We performed with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy as Cajun Country Revival for the Friday night cajun dance at City Hall. This is great fun, and there are many iterations: Caleb on drums or mandolin and singing, Sammy on fiddle or guitar, Nadine on bass and singing, Joel on fiddle or electric guitar, Jesse singing and playing accordion, and myself playing triangle or guitar and singing. We all taught a variety of workshops at the Bethany Church during the day on Saturday. Harmony singing, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, string band class, as well as a cajun band class. Then our work was finished, and we spent the evening playing a session at a bar, then watching the Sweetback Sisters perform a concert. The festival culminated with a cajun dance hosted by the Green Mountain Playboys. The Playboys invited Cajun Country Revival on stage later in the night, so we had one last hurrah for the festival. It is always a pleasure to play music with Jesse and Joel, and I’m thankful we keep getting opportunities to do so. Jesse is a powerhouse on the accordion, instantly lifting the music, and his singing cuts straight to the heart. Or grabs you right in the balls, one or the other. Probably both. And Joel’s fiddle playing is energetic and tasty, a powerful sound rhythmically, or when he’s soloing, or when he lends perfectly woven backup to a singer. We enjoy the collaboration whenever it happens. It was a great weekend all around.
And now we are parting ways for a few weeks. Sammy and Nadine go on to play a few gigs in Montreal and Hawaii, and Caleb goes home to dive into some projects in Portland and to teach a week long fiddle residency to Pendleton grade school students. I am heading out to Central Washington to visit family and await the arrival of my new nephew! We will meet up at the Snow King Festival in Yellowknife, NT, Canada. We will be performing inside of an ice castle…. the places old time music takes ya! We are also very excited about the release of our first vinyl. Our latest recording Devil in the Seat arrives on vinyl March 11th, and we are excited for you to hear it in this high quality format!
Looking back at 2015, we sure can say that we got around! From theAnchorage Folk Festival with the Cajun Country Revival to a tour of the Pacific Northwest across to the Northeast, we covered the coasts! Then back up to Alaska to the Folk Festival in Juneau, then a tour of Ireland (Fiddle Fair!), Scotland and England! We met again for a quick European tour to play the gigantic Roskilde festival in Denmark, Gooikoorts in Belgium and a week in Sweden! To the East Coast we returned for the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival and drove through upstate New York, Ontario and finished atWheatland in Michigan! We teamed up with Joel Savoy and Jesse Lege for a little tour of Virginia, DC, Maryland and West Virginia and finish our year of touring with a Midwest tour from St. Louis to Minneapolis.
Caleb and Reeb traveled a lot with the country band and Sammy and Nadine moved into a cute little cabin in downtown Whitehorse.
Where next you ask?
We won’t be gathering dust in 2016 either it looks like! Lots of stuff in the works, but here are the festivals and tours we are thrilled to share with you:
We’ll then go all the way up to Northern Canada to play the Snow King Festival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories! They build a gigantic snow castle on the lake and events take place in the castle for the whole month of March, including the Royal Ball, which we’ll be part of!
A tour of the South will lead us all the way to MerleFest on April 29th! It will be the first time for the Foghorn Stringband playing this amazing festival. Early bird tickets on sale now here!
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.