May 7, 2014

May - The tour's over and it's back to work.

As you know if you've read earlier posts in the blog, a good portion of April was spent on the road touring in the US Northeast with Manitoba Hal on The All Day Breakfast Tour. See the previous posts for how we started out. In summary, we had a fabulous time playing at house concerts, arts centers, radio stations, coffeehouses and a couple of open mics.

The performance evolved as we played. At the first gig, we did a separate solo set each followed by a third set of duets. After a conversation in the van, we changed the format so that we did the first set as a song-swap, both on stage at the same time. This format allowed us to exchange ideas, play off each other and generally have fun with the music. As Hal has said many times, "We're not just musicians, we're entertainers." We are good musicians and the audiences are music fans but the All Day Breakfast stage show is about connecting with the crowd and making sure they have a great experience.

There were many memorable experiences, including getting up at 6:00 am to drive from Orleans, MA to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod. Our host, Tim Sweeney, told me that Provincetown is a beautiful place but it was a cold foggy day and we couldn't see much of anything. It was very like Lunenburg when the fog rolls in off the sea - the mournful cry of the foghorn and visibility measured in centimetres (OK, inches because it was the US). The reason we were up so early was to appear live on WOMR Radio with host Kathy Tarr. I discovered later that OMR stands for OuterMostRadio because of its position at the end of the road.

Later that night after zooming from Provincetown to Malden, MA, we played in the First Lutheran Church in a fund-raising concert for the church's Food For Life program. The next night we went back to Orleans (I gotta talk to the booking guy about itineraries for the next tour) for a show at the Old Firehouse. It seems that a lot of people are up and about at 7 am on Cape Cod listening to Kathy's program because half the audience had heard us on the radio.

A few nights later, we're having dinner before our gig at the Bing Arts Center in Springfield, MA. I'm facing the door and I see a woman who looked a lot like Nicole Colbeck (our manager) come in. I said to Hal, "That woman looks like Nicole." The reason it looked like Nicole is because it was Nicole. She was on her way to Lennox, MA on family business and it's only an hour from there to Springfield, so she and her lovely daughters, Carolynne and LĂ©anne, came out to the show. Hal knew they were coming but they kept it a secret from me until they actually arrived.

The fun side of the ADB tour was about finding breakfast joints along the road. Our best story was in Brewer, ME outside of Bangor. We're on our way to the last gig in Lubec and we stop in the Eagle's Nest, a lovely little diner right on the Penobscot River. Their menu says Breakfast Served Till 11am. Undaunted, we cast our eyes down the menu and discover on the lunch menu a "Toasted bacon and fried egg sandwich." They tried to dress it up as lunch by serving it with french fries and a dill pickle but what part of bacon, eggs, and toast is not breakfast and if they can cook all those things at 2:45, why can't they serve breakfast after 11?

The finale of the tour was held at The Crow Town Gallery outside of Lubec, ME. It's a beautiful spot with a great view across Cobscook Bay. We had a fabulous time. The room was pretty much full and we received a standing ovation and did a couple of encores. Fred Pierce (head honcho of Cobscook Bay Music) shot a video of the entire performance and one of my next tasks is to do a little editing and post some of the performance on YouTube. Watch this space for details.

So now it's back to work:  bookkeeping, booking the next gigs, editing videos, preparing showcase applications, writing blogs and if there's time, perhaps playing the guitar (and my new bouzouki).  A huge shout out to everyone we met on the first All Day Breakfast Tour. Many people came out to see us play, gave us bed and board, had enough faith in us to book us for their venues and bought our music. At one show, I was adding Facebook friends during the intermission. To quote Chuck Brodsky, "For the kindness of strangers, I often give thanks." Without all the kindness you have given to Manitoba Hal and me along the happy trail, we would be much poorer. We're planning another tour in the fall. Hope to see you along the road.

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