April has flown by, but for all the right reasons. I have been busy with teaching at Swallow Hill and wrapping up the spring semester at the University of Northern Colorado. My garden is slowly getting in shape, and the summer is filling up nicely with gigs and travel opportunities. All in all, it was a great month with lots of exciting things.
My band played a great gig at the Big Wonderful in Winter Park on April 1st. It was cold, but we had a good crowd, and people even danced. It’s hard to dance in ski-boots. My bluegrass ensemble class at UNC played well at their recital on April 10th. They are a great group of kids and I’m excited to see what the future holds for them. We have a couple of students involved in the program graduating this month and headed out into the wide world of gigs and tours. I’m wishing them well. Long Road Home returned to Oskar Blues in Lyons and played a fun night of traditional bluegrass. It’s always great to be back at that venue to play the bluegrass music. My Bluegrass Band class at Swallow Hill played at the “One Epic Night” fundraising event for Swallow Hill and brought the house down. They worked for sixteen weeks on a set of music and did very well in their performance. It sounds like they will continue playing together and so far they are calling themselves “Floyd Hill”. Keep an ear out for them.
I had a great trip to eastern Kansas. I played a show in Courtland and another in Partridge, Kansas set up by my good friend John Depew. I enjoy driving around the countryside, seeing all those little towns, and meeting such nice people. It was nice to catch up with my friend (and mountain dulcimer phenom) Erin Lewis. We had a great jam after my show in Courtland. A special thanks to Jay Yoder who hosted my concert in his ultra-cool clubhouse. A potluck dinner, a nice fire out front, and an attentive crowd…couldn’t ask for much more. I stopped and saw the worlds largest easel and the first patented helicopter in Goodland. I saw the cabin where “Home on the Range” was written. I stopped at the geographic center of the United States. I walked around the worlds largest ball of sisal twine, the world’s largest czech egg, the surreal “Garden of Eden” in Lucas, and I spent a couple of hours at Fort Larned. What a great weekend. I hope to get back that way sometime soon (actually I’ll be back that way in October).
Mostly I have teaching to promote this month, specifically about songwriting!
Before the pandemic I was hosting song circles at Swallow Hill. After a hiatus, those are happening again on Thursday evenings form 7pm to 8pm. Songwriters can come together to workshop songs, get feedback, meet other writers for collaboration, and be part of a community of creatives. I try to just be a facilitator and ask questions, but as time goes on, hopefully other folks will be able to host and participants will get more diverse feedback than if they took one of my classes. Songwriting is hard, and often it can feel like it’s not worthwhile. These song circles are great places to understand that the struggles of songwriting are not unique and to gain some perspective on what it means to write songs. If you’re interested in songwriting please join us, but seats are limited. Only five participants each week are allowed to ensure that each participant has time to share and get feedback.
To support those songwriting events I have added new stuff to the “Songwriting” page on my website. There are lots of resources and ideas there for writers and musical creatives, and many more to come. Check out my blog, and check in on the songwriting page for frequent updates. I’ll also be working on more content along these lines on my YouTube channel, so check that out as well.
Speaking of my YouTube channel, there are new videos over there. I shot a video of my version of “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” on my way home from Kansas in April. The sun was setting, the meadowlarks were singing, and…of course…the wind was blowing. Still, I think it turned out pretty well. Check it out, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe!
I don’t have many show to promote this month, but I’m excited to be playing at MainStage Brewing in Lyons on May 11th at 7:00pm, with a random cast of characters. It’s always fun to do these Thursday night shows with folks from the bluegrass community. Often, it’s hard to catch up with music friends because we all have gigs on the same nights, so unless we are on a show together we hardly see each other. Certainly, not as much as I would like. If you’re in the Lyons area on May 11th, come check us out. I’m not sure who the band will be, but I know it will be fun and the lineup is always great.
I have a busy summer ahead, so even though there’s not a lot going on this month, I will be busy pretty much from June all the way until the beginning of November already. There’s a lot of exciting stuff ahead (including a return to Kansas in October). Stay tuned and stay in tune.
Alright, I’m off to work in the garden. See y’all soon!