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