Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chunks of Metal, Scraps of Paper

I just joined the Air France mileage club. I figure if I'm going to spend the majority of my money (or credit really) floating through the skies in a hunk of flying metal, I might as well at least collect miles while I'm at it...and perhaps they'll give me some more miles in exchange for the miles I've already flown and so on and so on...until I don't know which way is space and which way is earth. I think I'm almost there anyway.

I'm thinking about investing in one of those little metal necklaces that apparently keep the bad out and the good in. I'll wear the tiny chunk of metal inside the larger, flying hunk of metal and wish for the best :) I know very little about the small force field necklace...just that they're very expensive, they keep out the bad, and that some US pro swimmer uses one to stay strong and agile like a fish. I tried one out at a potluck in the mountains and was very surprised to find that wearing one helps me stay on my feet when someone attempts to push me over. I think I'll purchase one when I have some money.

It's a pretty strange thing to think that small chunks of metal can keep you strong, large ones can take you around the earth and others are capable of demolishing it...all controlled by little scraps of paper. Money. Paper. Papermoney purchasing meaningless, useful, worthless, essential, needful things, causing men to want, kill, steal, lie and in the end, war with each other over it. Wow, all for chunks of metal and scraps of paper. Who knew we'd give them so much power?

Speaking of power, I just got done working for about a month with Olivier Maltinti, a very creative director/actor in Marseille France, who thinks a lot about this subject. His newest theater production is a psychedelic satire about a man named Jr. who is a very powerful man with plenty of paper and metal to boot (you can read about it here if you're interested:

Jr. of course is dying like all of us and his biggest dilemma is that he doesn't know what to do with all his money in the end since he has no heir and a multi-billion dollar trust company gained from the spoils of oil.

MacGregor International Trust Co. has many enemies and his evil ex wife of course will get nothing, and so he is tortured day and night, in and out of morphine and nembutal trips with the question of what to do with all his dough.

I won't spoil the end just in case you come see it in the future or if Olivier ever decides to sell the rights to Hollywood...but I think you get the idea. The show is a message about the evils of capitalism and the greedy silliness behind it all. It seems quite appropriate right now in the state that we're all in. And I say all, because we are ALL in this together, there's no escaping the ripple from this splash even on the farthest end of the pond.

I really had no idea I'd be getting political tonight, in fact I was just going to talk a bit about my latest adventures but it seems that bigger things are on my mind these days. It's getting rather late now in the sleepy town of Bedous, France (where I've been attempting to relax before more insanity) and seeing as how I will be in another hunk of metal tomorrow headed to Paris for the New Year and then to Greece (where they're especially haunted by these worries), and then a short tour of the Netherlands, I should get some sleep before the night turns to morning, health turns to a cold, and a scratchy voice leads to less scraps of paper (that keep me floating in chunks of metal) drifting my way.

I hope you all had a magnificent holiday (Christmas, Hanukka, Festivus or any other holiday I may have forgotten to list) full of whatever in the world you could have possibly ever desired and that the New Year brings you even more of just that!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deep Snow, Desert Dreaming and SxSW

Well here I am again, enveloped by the lovely deep of winter snow. I had a splendid journey earlier tonight with "Timmy" the toyota. Listened to rough mixes of the new Pterodactyl Plains album on my way to dinner with good friends, food and stories in the heart of Trego's bluish-gray misty woods...and enjoyed catching up with folks on this here "world wide web". We don't have internet at the ranch and so here I sit, by a crackling fire (only for a few more minutes until I brave the blustery, heaved winter roads) at the welcoming home of Kier's parents.


I heard from a friend in Phoenix tonight and thought of the vast difference of temperatures, culture, seasons and landscape between here and there...and I realized that even though I miss the desert, I do love Montana so.

I had a great time in the desert this past November-December, rock climbing, adventuring and being detained by the border patrol with my brother....but there is a certain closeness, calm, coziness and lack of fear of the cartel here in the vast land of witness protection placements and cell phone deadzones that just can't be beat. Yes indeed. I do love Montana.


I love to travel as well however, and after hearing from River in Phoenix, I couldn't help but get excited about all the journeys up ahead. River has a cool little indie label and was inviting me to perform at SxSW on March 19th...unfortunately for Austin but perhaps fortunately for Trego (where concerts are far and few between but mountain lion stalkings, and bear maulings, quite a normal occurrence), I have a cd release show scheduled March 19th, the same day as the SxSW performance.

So instead of wine and cheese backstage, it will be coors and venison at the Trego Communty Hall....or simply venison, since I am a glutard as some might say. I was elated for a few moments though, imagining the bustling music scene at the festival, all that free food and surprising my good friends "Head For the Hills", (an insanely talented group of strapping young bluegrass pickers), Jesse Phillips of "The Grenadines" (good friend and guitar player in my first band "Grassrocket" a wonderful bunch of hooligan teenagers creating noise we thought was awesome for senior prom and other various unpaid gigs with big pant wearing, purple haired Montana "skaters" flailing through the air and earplugging, unapproving parents wearing glorious scouls) and Danny from Missoula's band "LA Font". I suppose everything happens for a reason and I'm happy that I had a short moment in my imagination with these good friends and look forward to joining the other bajillion bands at SxSW next year. Thanks River!

Night Days

It is late again and although I've recently grown accustomed to nights quickly turning into day while in the "recording studio" (or upstairs bedroom with the least amount of flies), I am attempting to become human again before we head out on the open road on tour. And so, goodnight and pleasant dreaming to you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New CDs and European Tour 2011

I'm excited about releasing two new albums this month! March 12th I'll release "Cold" my third solo album (Americana/Country-Western) and March 11th, Pterodactyl Plains (indie-folktronic side project) releases our sophomore album "In the Air". I'll soon be headed to Europe on tour for three months again (with Kier Atherton and Chance Cole of Pterodactyl Plains) and look forward to all the adventures up ahead.

Old Man Winter

It's been a "drain color dry" winter here in north western Montana but a productive one...and I've discovered a new past-time when it's too cold to fishing! Yes, a bit of a surprise to me as well seeing as how I'm more of a sunny weather rock climber than a frost-bite enduring ice fisherman! But, I have to say, I love ice fishing.

As a matter of fact, the photo I've chosen to use for the new album cover is a photo taken of me dangling a fishing line patiently in wait for "the big one" on lake Koocanusa. The new album is somewhat inspired by my icy experiences on the lake and the frosty winter wind that accompanied me often while house sitting a beautiful ranch near Fortine. Sneaking through the gaps in the old drafty doors without invitation, mercilessly dropping temperatures abruptly, rudely interrupting recording with inconsiderate racket, (and as I imagine) wearing a cruel icy grin all along...old man winter has been both friend and foe the past few months. A source of inspiration and frustration alike. The good news is that I just got a big load of firewood the other day, the albums are almost complete and Europe is right around the corner!

Old Man Winter Sneaking In

Last month, Kier Atherton and I found ourselves navigating between dream-like, crystal kissed, mossy douglas fir trees, through the night and up up up to the saw dust covered work shop of Ray Jacobs. Ray Jacobs is the inventor and creator of an elusive instrument he calls the "Rocky Mountain Dulcimer", sort of a cross between a mandocello and mountain dulcimer. On our way to film Ray in the shop and later performing with musical maestro (and lovely wife) Shirley, Kier and I stopped to take a few photos of the bewitching scenery surrounding us. Later, while looking over the pictures we couldn't help but notice what distinctly looked like the face of Old Man Winter... sneaking into our photos like the trickster that he is!

Along with some great footage of Ray and Shirley, Kier and I returned home to the ranch with a beautiful one of a kind "Onion" rocky mountain dulcimer, a special gift from Ray for making a short film about the Jacobs "off the grid" musical lifestyle. If you're interested in watching the short film about Ray and Shirley, it is available through the Western Folk Life Center or on youtube at

Sunday, March 21, 2010

France and Belgium tour 2010


I've had an incredible time these last few weeks on tour with Kier Atherton (Pterodactyl Plains) in France and Belgium. I want to say thank you to Patrick and Kathy Bauwens for hosting us at their lovely home outside Brussels (and arranging an appearance at Beverly Jo Scott's show, Le Montmartre, and a live radio interview on Classic 21...and all the tasty Belgian chocolate and beer!), Beverly Jo Scott for adding me to the show and for the lovely music, Marie Bauwens for her math skills and help selling cds, Bernard Rosenberg for the great photos, Thierry for the great conversation and ride to Classic 21, Didier and staff from Le Montmartre for the crystal clear sound and delicious dinner, Emilie and Silvan from Boumchaka, VJ, Steph, Yannick, Helene, Patrick, Nico and Marion for everything, Gerald for the hospitality and fun show in Lille, Eric and Silvan for the great night at Lucky Ducky, Magali for the stellar violin playing in Gent, Pieter and Leen for the Secret Hero Concert and hospitality in Gent, Mary & Me and Songs of Sirens for the beautiful music and of course to all of the wonderful folks that have attended the shows, given us a ride or helped us with directions along the way :) THANK YOU!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Here's a short video blog about preparing for and performing at Telluride in the Troubadour competition last month. I had a lot of funny, broken guitar, weather... but managed to have a good time anyway! Unfortunately there isn't any footage of my main stage performance due to weather (it started to rain on the camera!), but there is a funny little clip of me onstage getting ready to go on. Enjoy!

Telluride from Kier Atherton on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Splendindifulness, The Hobbit Haven and all that Jazz!

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Here I am.

Listening to the local radio station in the comfort of sweet Addie's hobbit haven. Ahhhh it is so nice to be back, I can't really say "home", because I really just "crash" here...but it is part of my home on this adventurous, unpredictable, endless road of splendindifulness.

You see, I don't really live anywhere these days...and by "these days" I suppose I mean for the past 14 months. I have been on the road, in the mountains, on the couches, on the floors, in the practice rooms and laundry rooms and even in the spare bedrooms (every now and then) of some amazing, generous and all encompassingly awesome folks.


I really feel at home here... and there... and everywhere on this beautiful, round ball of dirt. In the deserts of Utah, in the mountains of Montana, in the slums of Central America, eating a homecooked meal in my mother's kitchen, hungry in an empty parking lot...watching a semi break the sleepy silence of a rusty, country town at day break. I love it all. I couldn't have done it without you. So...

Thank you.

Thank you, for your faith in the gift I've been given and for believing that music is still alive, still healing and still worth it. Thank you for your patience with me when I'm "missing in action", or too tired to talk after a long run of shows, or too broke to take you out for a nice meal. I'm constantly blown away by your generosity, support and understanding. One day, I hope to repay you ten fold.

Big Dreams.

It feels so nice to have my second album released. It's finally settling in and it's been out for quite some time now. I think it's like graduating, you don't really notice all the great things about it until months later when your mind stops spinning from all the hard work you put into it. Woo Hoo! Freedom! I don't have to go to class today! You feel free just long enough for a twinge of elation to show up and then... shizen! Now it's time to get a job and...ahhhh, I miss class!

So, perhaps it's time to "get a job"- and that's what I'm doing. "Interviewing" with my music for agencies and labels and all that jazz. I'm pretty excited, I love meeting new people and checking out new places so this is strangely fun for me....and a lot of work but-

I'm psyched to be here.

Thank you.




My Family...all of you!

Lindsay & Marty...& all the Tall Boys


Kris & Annie


Katie & Steve




Ramey & Ben

Ded & Gil



Kev & Mamie




Katie & Tanner










And all of you....there's too many to list!