Hello dear people, Winter is now upon us, bringing us the Holiday Season, and a new year that is fast approaching. As we move away from the longest night of the year I am especially sending out light and love to those of you missing loved ones during the holidays. You are not alone.
Looking for some good cheer? I’ve got something for you to look forward to, a beautiful new CD, REACH FOR THE STARS! It is now officially off to manufacturing and I am so very excited to tell you that it has exceeded all my expectations. As soon as CD’s are available I will let you know. If you loved RISE then you are in for a treat because many of the same wonderful musicians are bringing their artistry to this new collection of songs: Lon Williamson (bass), Gabe Valla (mandolin, mandocello & guitar), Jason Thomas (fiddle), Hannah Alkire (cello), Penny Nichols (harmonies & arrangements), Elisabeth Williamson(harmony) and my son, Sam Mahon (harmony). Having my son on this new album is such a treat, and not only does he contribute his gorgeous voice, but also the photo of me on the back of the digipak. I can’t wait to show it to you.
To promote REACH FOR THE STARS, I’ve decided to attend the Folk Alliance International (FAI) Conference in Kansas City, MO in February! This is my first FAI and I am very excited to be going. There will be thousands of musicians all in one place – and they will playing everywhere in the conference center: in concert halls, hallways and hotel rooms. It should be loads of fun, and I’ll meet lots of folks since I’ll be working as a volunteer. Also, one of my favorite groups, my friends THE CURRYS are going to be performing a formal showcase there and I am excited for them too. Attending FAI is quite reach for this certified introvert!
Here is a photo of Paynes Prairie in Gainesville, FL where I frequently hike. It is so beautiful this time of year and replete with wildlife: wild horses, bison, deer, pigs, sandhill cranes, wood storks, herons of all types, ibises, ducks and great big alligators everywhere. It is literally wildlife cafeteria out here right now.
You may have noticed that things of late have seemed a bit quiet for me on the music scene, and there are a couple of reasons for that, besides the fact that I’ve been finishing up my new album. For the month of September, my husband and I took a road trip out to Moab, UT where we joined our friends Diane & David for an eleven day canoe trip down the Green River. We paddled through Stillwater and Labyrinth canyons all the way to the confluence with the Colorado River and then down the Colorado to right before Cataract Canyon (yikes). The jet boat picked us up, put our canoes on top, and then took us up the Colorado at a high clip for a couple of hours to where we disembarked.
What an amazing experience. It was incredibly hot (high desert 100+) and very exposed and so I was covered head to toe like a bandito with a scarf protecting my face. Only my eyes were visible. There is something very grounding about spending extended time in the wilderness. Free of political news, cellphones and computers we focused only on the present: we filtered own drinking water, loaded our canoes, tied things down, camped and decamped. Day after day, in the presence of tall cliffs carved by water over eons, we descended through time, sometimes stopping to explore Anasazi ruins or hike up a canyon. It took a day or two on the Green River before we realized that jumping into that cool silty water, the color of cafe latte, not only felt great, but was good for prevention of heat exhaustion! We camped on sandbars and high banks which were sometimes a bit of a scramble to get to. The photo to the left is at the top of the ridge at bow knot bend, the coolest geological feature where the river doubles back on itself and after paddling 9 miles we ended up almost where we had been earlier in the day (with a very high ridge between which we hiked up).We all had a nice tan patina of silt at the end of the trip and must have been quite a sight upon landing back at the Lazy Lizard Hostel in Moab to clean up. Before and after the canoe trip we hiked the beautiful trails of Chaco Canyon and The Arches National Park and then headed to Telluride, Colorado to visit one of our oldest friends. From there, on to Mesa Verde and Petroglyphs National Monument. The power of the archeological sights in the four corners region excite the imagination and create an almost mystical experience. Who knows where the images I stored up on these adventures will turn up in future songs? Tantalizing.
The other reason things have seemed quiet is that I fell playing tennis and broke my wrist and tore some ligaments and tendons just a week or so after returning home from our trip. Needless to say I lost the point, but hey I was really playing well that day! This put me in a cast for 8 weeks and then a splint for two. I am now able to begin physical therapy and start building strength and flexibility to play guitar again. I spent the time in between learning to play some slide on lap guitar and 2-5-1 jazz progressions on the piano. I even wrote a little tune on slide guitar for our dear friend Barrelhouse Chuck Goering. But alas, just before I finished the tune, we lost Chuck to cancer and a bright light went out in the blues world. In October Chuck received a lifetime achievement award in the Blues Hall of Fame and we joined him in Chicago to celebrate. That visit was the last time we would ever see him. He was a generous and loyal friend and he could make us laugh like no other. Chuck had the heart and soul of a true bluesman. To hear him sing and play was to feel what the blues were all about. If you love the blues you owe it to yourself to check out his website and his music www.barrelhousechuck.com. There are some wonderful documentaries there as well, and look for the most recent one made in October (I don’t know if it is up yet.)
Wishing each and every one of you a holiday season full of light and love. We are the bearers of hope my friends, keep the faith. As they say, “When the times get tough, the tough get going.”
You’ll be hearing from me again when the CDs arrive!
May your hearts be merry, your minds keen, and your spirits shining,