Workaday Magic

In his story about Monday nights’ NCAA college football championship game between Clemson and LSU, Washington Post sportswriter Barry Svrluga described LSU quarterback Jason Burrow as “…part magical wizard, part lunch-pail worker…”, and that really resonated with me. (If you missed the game, Svrlugas’ story paints a great picture of the dominance of Burrow and the LSU Tigers.)  I think there are lots of parallels between the work of musicians and athletes. The best example of which might be the countless hours spent toiling alone; in the practice room, the weight room, watching film, taking batting practice, playing scales, practicing a piece at half-speed and listening back to recordings that can feel nothing short of humiliating. A process, and sometimes a grind, of going to work every day, that gets the performer to the next step, and the one after that, and so on. Hopefully culminating in brilliant, or at least adequate, moments in a game or performance. Even his title, Joe Burrow showed an engineer’s precision and a wizard’s magic as he went out a legend, suggests that both painstaking diligence and magic were major components in the victory.

A few years ago there was a story floating around the internet about the great J.J. Watts’ first day on the job in Houston. I’ll save you the trouble of hunting the story down and tell you that he couldn’t sleep, and so he went to practice facility to work out. In the middle of the night. A maintenance worker had to let him in because he didn’t have an access card yet. He understood that a superior game-day is essentially a side-effect of the process of training as an elite athlete. Likewise, Yo-Yo Mas’ unquestionably masterful performances of the six Suites for Solo Cello of J.S. Bach are as much (and maybe more) the product of practicing that music one measure at a time for almost his entire life. J.J. Watt and Yo-Yo Ma are both great because their processes are great, and they show up to work every day to engage with those processes. 

Endurance athletes often spend large chunks of their offseason logging relatively slow base miles. A cyclist will get out on the road and ride at, what is for them, a moderate pace, building the fitness that they will later sharpen to a point for races. If they don’t build that general fitness their race fitness may never take shape, or it may be unreliable. The same is true for musicians. I can feel it in my own playing when I haven’t been playing scales, arpeggios, etudes, etc.. My performance feels less sure, my senses of time and pitch are not a sharp (sorry), and I feel out of synch. But if I HAVE been doing the basics, all the “harder” stuff, the flashier stuff, is much more likely to just be there when I go for it. 

There are other great examples of how moments of “magic” are actually created by hours of workmanlike practice. In his liner notes for Kind of Blue, pianist Bill Evans wrote: “There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment.”  That manner of creation captures in one moment the evidence of the artists’ volume of practice. The resulting line is a record of the gesture that was honed through a long process of repetition and refinement. It may have taken a single second to complete, but that line is the tip of an iceberg made of hours, days, weeks, months, and years of practice. You could say that the art is that process and toil, while the line, the notes in the air, or the final score, are nothing but markers along the road of the hard work. 

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New Year, Who’s This?

2019 was a year of thought and reflection for me; two things there’s ample opportunity for when you spend a disproportionate amount of your time in a van. All of those hours inside my own head (in-between podcasts) led me, among other things, to understand that it was time to put an end to the nonstop touring that had largely dominated the previous 4 1/2 years of my life; keeping me away from my family and friends, several personal objectives that I had repeatedly put off, and causing me to miss out on an exciting time in my adopted home town. The only way off of this train was to jump while it was moving full-speed, and that’s what I chose to do. I know that the road will always be there, and I’m pretty sure we’re not entirely done with each other, but right now I’m looking forward to more time with the kids, more visits to the dog park, and more nights in my own bed. I have a lot to share about what I think it means to be a full-time touring musician, what music is for and about, and how we use it in our lives, I’m going to do that here on a regular basis, so please stay tuned!

Happy New Year


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Can Electronic Music Also Be Folk Music?

My answer is yes. I’ll explain.


A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of performing at the lovely and charming Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario. While taking in the terrific lineup and the bucolic setting, even the roof of the main stage was green, I noticed that most of the smaller stages would feature a live band, then a DJ or electronic artist of some kind, followed by a band, etc.. Practically this makes a lot of sense; setting up a band is time consuming, not to mention complicated. There are often many outputs on stage that need to be routed and kept track of, multiple monitor mixes have to be adjusted. All that and we haven’t even mentioned the hassle of quickly getting a group of people and gear onto a stage and set up. On the other hand, an electronic artist can get on stage and go much more quickly. I watched several performers get their rigs together beside the stage, check that all was working, and then as soon as the previous band was off, move it all into place and connect it to the house. Many of them used their own headphones for monitoring, or had no monitors at all. They were self-contained, and sonically everything sounded pretty good, or even great, right out of the gate. Most importantly, the audience loved all of it, and likely appreciated that the lapse in the music was short.

Practicality aside, my first thought, after observing this cycle once, was how out of place a bunch of banger-cranking laptop drivers seemed at a folk festival. Was this a play to attract younger fans, or to keep the teenage kids from ticket-buying families happy while their parents and younger siblings were elsewhere?  But after catching a few more sets, it began to make sense to me.

I need to you indulge me for a moment now.

Few things are more ubiquitous today than computers; most of us carry a smartphone that is a more powerful computer than the ones that (so I’m told) helped to land Apollo 11 on the moon.  This has all been described before and you don’t need to hear any more of it from me. Suffice to say, we ALL have immense and flexible computing power at our disposal all of the time.

Our smartphones are at least as, and maybe more, commonplace now than fiddles, guitars, and banjos were prior to the era of tech nativism. I say this with no evidence and having done no research, but I feel confident in my claim that, historically speaking, virtually every person over the age of twelve has not had access to a household musical instrument. Fast-forward to today; as easy as it is to pick up a banjo, if one is around, making music come out of it is much more complicated. But with GarageBand on your iPhone, it’s an easy jump between what you hear in your head and what you can bring forth into the world with your hands. Even dedicated synthesizers and sequencers are now pretty inexpensive. For less than $100 you can buy a standalone piece of gear that will allow you to make actual music without even having to connect a patch cable. That’s cheaper than any smartphone I’m aware of, and more affordable than any playable acoustic instrument. We mostly use this fantastically powerful gear to watch our programs and to argue with strangers, but with a tiny amount of effort, we can coax real music, that people who like that sort of thing would enjoy, from the computers that surround us.

In my mind, one of the defining characteristics of folk music is a prevailing sense of democracy amongst its’ practitioners. While some performers have elevated performance standards to virtuosic levels there is still ample room at the table for sincere or inspired  interpretations of canonic songs and tunes that could be described as “ragged but right”. The message that I take from this standard is that refinement and technique can sometimes play second fiddle (sorry) to vision and honesty. Not that polish is a bad thing, mind you, when all of these traits are present the results can hold staggering power.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that while many of us are happy to take in a performance by a renown performer in the rarified space of a listening room, the purpose of folk music throughout history has been closer to the ground. We have used it, among other things, to facilitate dancing (and the activities that follow), to tell stories, or to spread news. So, if one of our chief uses for folk music has been to help us to dance, does it make such a difference if it’s happening on a Pocket Operator  rather than a banjo? Before you dismiss this idea by saying something about technology vs tradition, consider that modern resonator and open-back banjos are technical marvels when compared to their gourd-bodied forerunners which came to this continent from Africa. I’m not saying this to suggest a hierarchy, only to point out that technological advancement, or lack thereof, has little to do with an objects’ usefulness as a tool of music creation in the right hands.

So, if we’re talking about making music for the purpose of getting a crowd to dance, what’s the difference if it’s being done with a synth or a fiddle? Had the venerable TR-808 been around at the time of their composition, it doesn’t seem out of the question to this writer for tunes like Whiskey Before Breakfast to have been conceived with a very different set of tones in mind.




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Front Country France Tour Day 1, Le Puy


Summer tour is in the home stretch. Over the last month we’ve been all over the; the South, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Alaska, and now France. We’ll be here for a week to play at the Country Rendezvous Festival in Crappone, and the La Roche Bluegrass Festival, next weekend in La Roche. We’re staying in Le Puy for two days, we got in very late last night after about 24 hours of travel. I’ve long since given up trying to get my head around the many time and date changes that occur during international travel. It makes little difference if I know intellectually that I left Anchorage at 3:30 PM on Thursday and landed in Frankfort at around 1pm on Friday after a 9-hour flight (which is exactly what I did yesterday, or was it two days ago? See what I mean?); what my body knows is that is it’s out of time for while, and that’s what I go with. I do my best to get to sleep and get up at a reasonable time once I’m at my destination and take it from there.


Easier said than done.

That stop in Frankfurt, on the way to Lyon, was a seven hour layover. It was a happy coincidence that Kimber Ludiker happened to be laid-over in Frankfort at the same time. he came over from another terminal to have a beer, and hang out for a while. Little things like that can make a long, lonesome layover much easier. Thanks, Kimber!

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel, breakfast in continental Europe is steps ahead of it’s UK counterpart. Fresh pastries, fruit, yogurt, good coffee are typical. That’s not to say that I don’t like a good English Breakfast, croissant and cafe’ au lait is just more my speed.  After breakfast we walked around Le Puy for a couple of hours, mostly at the market. It’s a cliche’ to talk about the sights, smells, and sounds of an outdoor market, and for good reason. Unfortunately I woke up with a cold and my nose is stuffed up. The only thing I smelled today were some extremely fragrant olives, which I bought. Otherwise, I’ve been limited to sights and sounds, still pretty good. The market was full of stalls heaped with produce, bread, sausage, and cheese (so much cheese!). As I walked past his table, a vendor waved a paper thin slice of fat-dotted sausage, dangling from the end of very long knife, under my nose. It began to melt immediately in my mouth, the layers of flavor unfolding and blooming one at a time. Food like this is more than sustenance, it’s an expression of the place, of the time of year that it was made, and many more things I’m sure I’m not aware of. If you just scarf it down, something I have been known to be guilty of, you miss all of that.

After a lunch of bread, cheese, fruit, and those olives, I went for a run with Leif and Adam, then on a solo trip to the Chapel of St. Michael of Aiguilhe. The chapel, which sits on a towering rock more that 100 feet above town, was completed in 962 and has remained an active chapel since that time. The walk up to the chapel was grueling, but the just view was worth it; let alone the privilege of being in such an ancient place. Standing inside the chapel, it’s impossible to not feel connected to the people who built the place and to those who have inhabited it, despite the vastness of more than a thousand years between us. On the way back to the hotel I walked through some of the older neighborhoods of Le Puy. Ancient towns like this one have a way of leading you into places that feel private, almost secret, if you walk around for a short while. I found myself in narrow alleys outside of private homes. Though open windows I could hear people inside talking and cooking. I paused  few times to soak in those sounds as they rattled through the narrow streets, I felt briefly that I was really experiencing the place. I’m looking forward to more walks when we get to La Roche tomorrow.

By the way, Front Country has been running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of our new album. We tracked it in May with Wes Corbett, formerly of Joy Kills Sorrow, at the helm as our producer. It’s loaded with fresh-sounding new songs and tunes, we’re all very proud of it. The tracks are being mixed right now by the extremely talented Dave Sinko, who has worked with Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Punch Brothers, and more. We’re extremely excited about this record, and we need your help to release it. We don’t have a label and cannot afford to do it without YOUR help. Please take a moment to visit our Kickstarter page and make a pledge. We have great donor premiums for you to choose from and a promo video which has a few snippets of the music. Thank you!


Thanks for reading,



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IBMA Award Voting is Open, We Need to Talk.

It’s time to start the voting for IBMA’s annual awards. This is always an exciting time, few things are as professionally satisfying as acknowledging the accomplishments of ones’ colleagues over the last year, recognizing the challenges we all face and suppporting those among us who have stood out the most for their commitment to producing their own best work. This first ballot is an open ballot, which means that voters can write in the name of whomever they feel is deserving of awards, setting the ballot for the following two rounds of voting. If the name of an individual, band, or project doesn’t appear on this ballot, it won’t appear later by magic.

So, before filling out your ballot, please think about your selections. Have the individual players and bands you’re voting for actually had an outstanding year? Have they been out on the road, working hard, playing lots of gigs? Are they active professionals? Is your favorite for Emerging Artist actually a new band? Or is it a new collaboration of veteran players? If it’s the latter, please don’t nominate them for Emerging Artist. They are not emerging. They have already tackled the challenges that new bands and artists face and are not starting from the same place.

You get the idea. This is a personal plea from me to you, IBMA voters; please vote thoughtfully and with the understanding that the awards in October may be the only thing the rest of the music industry, and the public at large, hears about professional Bluegrass music this year. The more those people see the same names over and over the less likely it is that they will take a look at what we’re up to, and the less likely it is that they will take us and our music seriously.

Most importantly, our continual failure to recognize many of the most innovative and impactful members of our community should be a collective embarrassment. There are marvelous contributors to our art, new and established, who are repeatedly overlooked. It’s only a matter of time before those great artists will consider moving on to greener pastures rather than continue to produce work amongst peers who refuse to support them.

It’s time to vote with the future of Bluegrass in mind; not its’ past. Let’s be thoughtful NOW and talk about it NOW. Not in a few months when the final ballot mirrors the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that.

It really matters.


Thanks for reading.


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What To Do About HB2?

Lots of ink has been spilt over the matter since North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed NC House Bill 2 into law last week. This law supersedes any local laws providing anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQ people and bans any such future laws. This law is odious, even more so has been the argument put forth by GOP lawmakers that this is common sense legislation that will “…keep men out of womens’ locker rooms.”. That is not the purpose of this law at all, it exists only to further institutionalize bigotry. Period. I have lived many places, but I have always thought of North Carolina as my home, and this law (Not to mention efforts by the NC GOP to wreck the state education system and generally make NC a national embarrassment.) sickens me.

I have little concern, however, that HB2 will ultimately prove to have been one of the last desperate opposition efforts by bigots, on the road to eventual equality. That’s a long road, and it will be a long time before the vision of universal equality becomes reality. All of us have a role to play on this journey, there’s no room on the sidelines.

Later this year, the City of Raleigh, NC, will once again host IBMAs’ World of Bluegrass business conference and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival that follows. Many organizations have voiced distress over HB2, threatening to avoid doing business in or with the state. San Francisco has even barred city employees from traveling to NC for nonessential city business using public funds. It is only natural for those of us making plans to attend WOB to consider whether we should likewise refuse to do business in the state, missing WOB and perhaps other engagements. There are reasonable arguments on both sides (To attend or not to attend that is, there is no reasonable argument for HB2), but I have decided to go. I’ll tell you why.

While the NC State House, including the clownish Pat McCrory, may be a snake-pit of bigotry and backward policies; North Carolinians in general are not. From more than a dozen local governments whose equality laws were just overturned, to the businesses and individuals who have been horrified by HB2, there’s no shortage of North Carolinians on the correct side of this issue. Even NCs’ own Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced that his office won’t defend HB2, rendering the law impotent unless McCrory hires outside council. Raleigh’s Mayor, Nancy McFarlane has come short of condemning HB2, but made it clear in this statement that the city of Raleigh doesn’t share the bigotry of the State House.

North Carolina may be going through a troubling time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to abandon the good people, cities, and towns there. Quite the opposite, I feel it’s time to visit. It’s time to be with them in the spirit of equality, and to show them that they haven’t been abandoned; left to the devices of the lunatics who are temporarily in charge. I’m choosing to go to North Carolina as often as I can, to show them that I am an Ally. I’m going to play music in the face of bigotry. I’m going to go there to be with friends, LGBTQ and otherwise, in spite of people who would rather see people kept separate and afraid of each other. I’m going to show them my smiling face and support the people and business who need it right now more than I need to express my anger and frustration at the backward lawmakers who have scarred North Carolina with HB2.

See you in Raleigh.


Thanks for reading.



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My Family Motto

It seems that we have all survived the temporary banishment of Bluegrass Junction from satellite broadcast only to be faced with the short-lived but embarrassing hack of the IBMA Facebook page. What are we embattled bluegrassers to do!?

Allow me to share my family’s motto with you:

Don’t freak out.

It seems so simple, right? Let me tell you, when you have small children at home, like I do, not freaking out several times a day can seem like a lofty aspiration. And at first it is. But as you practice and refine the art of not freaking out, something really helpful happens; you begin to learn what things require an urgent response and what things don’t. You learn that lots of things can be ignored completely until they sort themselves out or go away. In your efforts to not freak out, you might gain a new sense of poise. You could even find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.

The now-resolved IBMA hack is a great example; social media hacks like this are an embarrassing fact of life now. They happen, then, with some effort (often somebody else’s), they usually get sorted out, and then they’re forgotten. It may be worthwhile getting a laugh out of it, but it’s not worth the energy, and time it takes to lose your head.

You may now be asking yourself what you can do with yourself, now that you have kept your act together in the face of minor aggravation. I have a suggestion.

Even if you aren’t someone who is “in the business”, if you’re a fan of Bluegrass, or any music, you have an interest in the success of that music. Hopefully, you want to see the form persist so that it grows and new music is made. So that boundaries are pushed, and new people are made fans. In this sense, we are all ambassadors for our favorite kinds of music and our favorite bands. In niche markets, like Bluegrass, especially, the vigorous support of fans is crucial; it is the lifeblood of the smaller, mostly independent, corners of the industry where influential publicity firms and big promotional budgets are rare. Social media, like Facebook, make it extremely easy to share music that you like with your friends. It is now effortless to share a song that you love, along with a small testimonial, and potentially turn your digital “friends” on to something that could be very special to them. And, it’s absolutely helpful to the artists behind the song. What better way to spend that newfound time and show off the new cool, calm, and collected you?

So, instead of losing our minds over temporary non-issues, let’s all strive to not freak out and instead share something good with our friends in the digital world.


Thanks for reading,



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No Bluegrass for nine days?! Let’s all relax.

It was recently announced that SiriusXM made the decision to temporarily preempt the the usual programming of the Bluegrass Junction channel from December 6-15 in favor of a program of Chanukah music. The temporary programming starts tonight at midnight and will continue until December 15th. Predictably (sigh) there has been lots of complaining and general gnashing of teeth over this in Bluegrass communty. One Bluegrass industry pro even asked their attorney to write a letter to SiriusXM management, which was then shared via social media. That may have garnered some cheers from the crowd, but is a pretty pointless and ultimately embarrassing stunt.

(Edit: I have been informed that the letter was not written at the request of a client.)

So, before we all cancel our satellite radio subscriptions, rip receivers out of our cars, whatever, let’s relax for a moment and take an honest look at the situation then decide what to do.

Start by reading this letter from IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger, he explains the situation quite clearly.

Bluegrass Junction is a good channel and one of the highest-profile outlets for Bluegrass music. It’s particularly kind to new artists and is crucial to their exposure and development. We as a community are lucky to have it. Despite what we sometimes think (and read in the Bluegrass press) Bluegrass is a fairly small niche market within the music industry. We do not have a massive amount of leverage to exert. The support of SiriusXM and a few other players is big for us, we need to cultivate those relationships rather than test them. I have seen many people threaten to cancel their subscription over this interruption, claiming that BGJ is the only channel they listen to and that this is the most egregious betrayal since Brutus stabbed Caesar.

Let’s walk that down the road a bit.

As dedicated Bluegrass fans we may get a sense of satisfaction from canceling; “I sure showed them!” we might say to ourselves. But, nine days from now BGJ will return and those of us who cancelled with either re-up, which makes the fact that we canceled in the first place meaningless, or we’ll no longer have access to BGJ. Both of these are crummy options. Not mention that a mass of cancellations might make SiriusXM take a look at the role of BGJ in their offerings. “A niche channel with an unreliable subscriber base? Hmm… We’ve been looking for place to put the new Pinterest channel.”

You see where I’m going with this?

If you feel that you must register your disapproval, by all means send a polite note; I understand that you can get a refund for the time BGJ will be unavailable, that’s generous. Understand that SiriusXM does these preemptions in rotation, so it’s unlikely to happen again for a long time. Think of this as the radio equivalent of jury duty; it’s a drag but it’s temporary and doesn’t happen often.

Then, scan around the other channels; there’s a lot of great music out there aside from Bluegrass. You could even listen to the Chanukah programming, maybe you’ll hear some Andy Statman. Or listen to your local station, dig through your record collection for old chestnuts or buy some new records. Radio is kind of passive anyway and music shouldn’t be a spectator sport, so discover a new artist and let yourself go down a rabbit hole exploring their music (NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, available on YouTube, are a great place to start. I’ve discovered many new favorites there). Are you concerned about artists losing income through nine days of lost programming? Go attend a concert, buy some merch, tell your friends about them. Be the great fan that all great music deserves and find a way to support the music you care about rather than complaining that you have been let down in some way.


Thanks for reading.



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Tour Blog 16, Spalding and home

After an outstanding evening at the Square and Compass we had to hightail it north for the final gig of tour at the modern and lovely South Holland Centre in Spalding. We said goodbye to our host, Brian, and his lovely antique car and hopped in the van. A bit of London traffic and some GPS confusion confusion conspired for us to arrive just in time for soundcheck.  The South Holland Centre is a first rate space that is used for live music as well as movies and theatre, including the Christmas Pantomimes that are popular for families this time of year all over the UK.

It felt like the last day of school when we got on stage, giddy with relief and excitement over the great tour and the trip home in the morning. The crowd was a bit reserved but crowded us at the CD table, helping to make sure that we didn’t have much to bring back with us. Our sets flew by, we packed the gear for the last time and I packed my travel bass for the first time in three weeks. The hotel was just a few blocks away, we had a 5am call to drop me and Roscoe at the airport, so we all did out best to get to bed early.

5 AM came and we were rolling towards Gatwick, the smaller of Londons’ two airports. We arrived with enough time to figure out the free airport wifi and get a bite to eat, then it was time to board. We flew through Reykjavik again, this time in daylight, so we were able to really see Iceland for the first time. Rocky and green against the deep blue of the ocean and dotted with low, cozy-looking buildings painted in vaguely institutional colors. I like cozy places situated in severe locations, (Probably why I loved Scotland) Iceland seems to also fit that bill nicely; I hope to visit there in the future. I had enough time to buy a chocolate bar and a yogurt (which I would eat in line to board the next flight. The second leg, from Reykjavik to Baltimore, left minutes later. Moments after takeoff we were back over the water, it’s amazing to me how the waves and breakers on the ocean can seem still from a great height. I closed my eyes for a while, when I opened them we were over Greenland. At least I think it was Greenland. We seemed to be flying low over enormous, stony, snowy mountains, but it may have just been clear and the mountains may have been that big. Either way, the sight was beautiful and there are pictures below. After that, the view was mostly ice and ocean until I drifted to sleep again. We got to Baltimore late, but I made my connection to Nashville. Before I knew it I was standing outside at arrivals waiting for a ride home after a month on the road. It felt as if I could have been gone for a year, or just a weekend. It was an incredible trip and I’m very glad to be home for a while. Thanks to Loudon Temple for bringing us over, to Gerry Roche for showing us the ropes, keeping us on track, and delivering us safely to every gig, meal, and hotel, to the people who were kind enough to host us in their homes.  Most of all, THANK YOU! to everyone who came to see us, we’ll be back and we can’t wait to to see you all again!


Thanks for reading,



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Tour Blog 15, Worth Matraverse

The penultimate gig of this tour was at the legendary Square and Compass in Worth Matraverse on Englands’ Jurassic Coast. Gerry had been telling us about this gig since he picked us up at Heathrow. We had heard so much about the gorgeous coastline, the pub itself, the cider and pasties, that we were beyond excited to get on the road to Dorset on Saturday. It was all just as advertised. Worth Matraverse is an old seaside town on England’s southern coast, the high concentration of fossils earned the area the nickname “Jurassic Coast”, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival we piled into the Square and Compass and each dove into a pint of the house made cider. This isn’t the syrupy stuff you tend to get in the states. It’s not sweet and seems to me to have more in common with white wine than beer, it’s also strong. Really strong. Warmed by our ciders, we followed the directions of Charlie, the owner of the bar that has been in his family for more than one hundred years, and made our way down to the coast. A walk down a path of about one mile brought us out to the top of a cliff that overlooks the English Channel and is marked with a handful of caves carved into the rock when the area had been an active quarry. The view is absolutely incredible, there are some pictures below that won’t do it justice. It was one of those places that gives you a sense of how big and powerful the planet is, and how small we each are in comparison. We explored for an hour or so before the wind and cold drove us back up the path to the Square and Compass for another pint and piping hot pasties.

The Square and Compass is an old pub and seems to serve as the social hub for the area. When we arrived the patio was full of cyclists and climbers who had been outside all day and were beginning the evenings’ festivities. The building itself was built around 1700, with its’ roaring wood stove, low ceiling, and small rooms, it is the single coziest bar I have ever visited. The owner, the aforementioned Charlie, is a fossil collector and the very back of the place is one-room fossil museum and is a great place to look over while waiting for a seat. We had some time to kill, so there was some jamming and some napping done. Later on we set-up and soundchecked with the Kevin, the bar manager, and then it was go time! This was one of the smallest rooms we’ve played on the tour and the crowd present was more than enough to pack the place. We had a fantastic close quarters show, literally toe-to-toe with the audience. It was an incredible night and we can’t wait to get back! After the gig we went to the nights’ lodging, a lovely house owned by a retired gentleman named Brian who kept us up late and then was up before any of us making breakfast. Thank you, Brian!

Reluctantly, we were up early to get on the road to Spalding and the final gig of the tour. Thank you to everyone who joined and Charlie, Kevin, Tom, and Zoe at the S+Q who took such good care of us and kept the pints and pasties coming!


Thanks for reading,




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