Happy spring all y’all!
I’ve been getting tired of all the cold weather here in Colorado, but we are grateful for the snow (especially in the mountains). But spring is on its way, and some of my flowers are already poking up from the ground. I started some seeds for my garden, I’m remodeling a room in my house, and I’m finally readjusting from my trip to France!
My dad and I spent ten days traveling around France, Belgium, and Luxembourg visiting sites from the first and second world war. We visited all the beaches where the D-Day landings took place as well as many sites where the paratroopers landed during the invasion. We stayed in the picturesque city of Bayeux, not far from the beautiful cathedral. From there we traveled to the Champagne region and visited Belleau Woods and Chateau-Thierry where the US Army fought some of their first battles during WW1. We had a nice visit with guitar legend Pierre Bensusan and his wife. We visited the surreal battlefield at Verdun and ended up at sites that were part of the Battle of the Bulge in WW2. We had a family friend who was in the 82nd Airborne division and was there during the battle. We saw the little village that his unit occupied during the fight. It was a heavy trip, and there’s still a lot for me to process. More of that will happen on my travel blog over the next few months. Head over there if you’re interested. Oh yeah, the food was amazing!
April is even busier than March it seems. I have several solo gigs, as well as student performances, and gigs with my new (but not so new) band.
The Martin Gilmore Band will be bringing our brand of honky-tonk and western swing to Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado on March 31st at 7pm (free admission) and to The Big Wonderful in Winter Park on April 1st at 1pm. The band features the same cast of characters as the trio (Nick Amodeo on Telecaster, Ian Haegele on Bass) and adds Michael John McKee on drums to fill out the traditional honky tonk sound. Michael and I have played in bands together since we were kids. He also plays with the great Denver band Strange Americans and as Helicopter Copter with his percussion ensemble. Those gigs will be a lot of fun. If you don’t have anything to do this weekend come follow us on our mini-tour.
My bluegrass ensemble at the University of Northern Colorado has a performance on April 10th, 2023 at 7:30pm that is open to the public. The concert will be in Milne Auditorium in Kepner Hall and is free to the public. We have been preparing songs that were featured in Carl Sandburg’s great book “The American Songbag”. Many of those songs have trickled down through folk music and been recreated by other artists, or reimagined in new ways over the years. We are covering some of the modern versions of the songs as well as performing versions from the book and creating our own interpretations. They are such a great group of kids, and I am very much looking forward to their last concert of the year.
Swallow Hill Music Association is having their large fundraiser event “One Epic Night” on April 15th, 2023 and my class “The Swallow Hill Bluegrass Band” will be performing. This ensemble requires people to audition (and be accepted) to participate. The group has been working hard to prepare a set of bluegrass standards to play on stage for the event. They are sounding great and “One Epic Night” is always fun. It’s a great way to support Swallow Hill, and I’m proud of this band and their hard work.
On April 21st I will be playing a solo show at the Partridge Rec Room in Partridge, Kansas thanks to my friend John Depew. He’s a fantastic songwriter and performer from out that way and I’m looking forward to catching up with him. The next night I will be playing at The Courtland Arts Center in Courtland, Kansas at 7pm. I’ll also be offering a songwriting class from 5pm-6pm. If you happen to be out that way, I’d love to see you. Or if you know someone who will be, let them know about it.
I’ll also be in the studio a little bit recording some music for some of my summer programs, and I’m hoping to get some songwriting done (as well as some blog writing). Somewhere in between all that I’ll get my garden planted.
I have a few new classes that start the last week of April, and I’m especially excited to be re-booting the Swallow Hill Song Circle. I’ll be leading my Intermediate Bluegrass Ensemble class again on Wednesdays at 8pm. I’ll also be running a class on bluegrass singing for any of you who would like to learn that singing style. We will concentrate on singing leads, harmonies, and learn several songs you can take to jam sessions. The few times I have taught that class have been very fun! If you are a songwriter the Swallow Hill Song Circle is a great place to workshop your songs, get feedback from other writers, and find some inspiration. It’s a friendly and supportive group of people who take songwriting seriously. It’s not a class, it’s a workshopping session. You can come every week, or drop in when it’s convenient. You will have to sign up for the session each week, and space is limited.
If you can’t make any of the concerts or the classes, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and sign up for my Patreon. It’s not quite the same as seeing you in person, but it’s the closest thing you can get if you can’t make it. I have lots of new music up on my YouTube and new lessons and songs each month on my Pateron.
I hope you have a wonderful month. If you’re growing a garden this year please share pictures on my Facebook page (or send them to me here.) I always like to see what folks are growing. Plant seeds now, and enjoy the future harvest.