Things have been busy around here. I can’t even believe that August is here. The summer has been full of great friends and music, but that has made the weeks fly by. No complaints from me though, it has been great to be back on the road and visiting everyone.
July was a busy month full of traveling and shows. I was happy to be part of the 4th of July celebration at the Gold Hill Inn (which was recently profiled in Forbes magazine). If you have never been there and live on the front range (or are ever visiting) you must go to this special place in the mountains. It was great to play with Long Road Home at the High Mountain Hay Fever Festival in Westcliffe, Colorado. It’s always great to play with Jordan Ramsey, Justin Hoffenberg, Ian Haegele and Pete Wernick. We are hoping to play at least one more show this fall, so look out for that. I enjoyed playing at Scotts Bluff National Monument and at Fort Laramie National Historic Site and revisiting my old stomping grounds. And finally, it was an absolute honor to be part of the fabulous Rockygrass festival in Lyons, Colorado. I saw so many friends from over the years and feel inspired and reconnected to the music.
There’s a lot more happening this month. I’ll be playing a concert with my trio in Bayfield, Colorado on August 5th. If you’re going to be down in southwest Colorado this upcoming weekend and would like to come please send me a message and I can direct you to the folks with tickets.
August 18th I’ll be at the truly western Stampede Saloon in Chugwater, Wyoming with my band. We will be playing honky tonk and country music for the good people of southeastern Wyoming. Stop in and say howdy!
The next day, August 19th, my band will be playing in the also very western town of Bushnell, Nebraska for their city festival.
On August 20th, we will be playing in Westcliffe, Colorado for a concert at their beautiful amphitheater by the observatory. All these little western towns, I might just wear my cowboy hat all weekend.
On August 27th we will play the United Center in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Lots of opportunities to catch us playing this month if you’re around the region.
August 21st I’m back at the University of Northern Colorado for my 7th year as part of the Folk and Bluegrass Faculty. I have some great students and I’m looking forward to hearing the music they make this semester. I’ll announce the date of our student recital as we get closer to the end of the semester.
I have new and exciting classes rolling out this fall at Swallow Hill Music Association including Progressions Bluegrass Guitar, Progressions Songwriting, the Swallow Hill Bluegrass Band, and the Swallow Hill Bluegrass Ensemble. You can find all of them at Swallowhillmusic.org, but I’ll take a moment to describe them as well.
Progressions: Bluegrass Guitar concentrates on all aspects of bluegrass guitar including rhythm playing, solo development, playing in ensembles, preparing repertoire, gear, songwriting, fiddle tunes, etc. If you want to get serious about playing bluegrass guitar, this is the class for you. It runs from August 30th-December 20th. We meet twice per week, Tuesdays are online and Thursdays are in person at Swallow Hill. It’s a big commitment, but if you want to play in a bluegrass band or seriously improve your bluegrass guitar playing, this class is designed specifically for that.
Likewise, Progressions: Songwriting features an immersive experience in all the aspects of songwriting. Students will work on developing lyrics, music writing, developing ideas, pushing through writer’s block, production, publishing, etc. Additionally, each student will be required to bring something to share with the class each week, which means students will have to be actively writing songs. Sometimes, when you’re a songwriter, you just need someone to keep you accountable, this class will do that and help develop and hone a student's writing skills. The class runs on the same schedule as Progressions: Bluegrass Guitar August 30-December 20.
I will also be offering a Bluegrass Ensemble class on Wednesday nights. This class runs eight weeks and is for anyone who wants to play bluegrass music. We usually learn four songs and then focus on two songs to perform on the final day of class. The ensemble classes are always a lot of fun. If you are interested in something similar, but more serious, you can audition for the Swallow Hill Bluegrass Band. There are five spots in this class, one for each instrument. We spend sixteen weeks rehearsing and learning to be in a band. There will be performance opportunities, and hopefully, this group will continue to perform together after the session is over. The last group is still together playing gigs!
The last thing I want to mention is Songwriting Santa Fe, a songwriting retreat and camp in New Mexico for writers of all experience levels. I will be part of the faculty September 28-October 2nd. The camp will feature workshops and classes by award winning teachers Melody Walker (who wrote the title track to Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway’s Grammy Winning album “Crooked Tree”) and National Slam Poetry Champion Jovan Mays. They are both such inspiring writers and creators I am excited to have the chance to teach and to learn from them as well. If you are interested in writing songs, come to Santa Fe and join us for this rewarding retreat. It will be a great chance to invest in your art.
My garden is still growing. It’s starting to get into the season where all that work in the spring is paying off. It shows the importance of planting seeds, attention and caretaking. There are a lot of ways to grow a garden, and not all of them grow in the soil.
Hope to see you soon!