Up early with Norah as we were both flying out in the morning. We drove just over an hour to get to the Denver airport and I checked in as Norah returned the rental van. Her flight was later and a domestic, and mine was earlier and international as I was flying to Dublin. We ended up meeting up and hanging out for a bit in the mini art gallery, and then going through the exciting security screening together...which took forever. Because of this, and the fact that there was only 1 subway car working that takes you to the different terminals, I was getting nervous about making my flight in time.
I finally got to the right terminal and Murphy's Law...my gate was one of the very last ones at the end. I sprinted for what felt like a mile, with fiddle on my back and my purse and made it just in time! I ended up sitting beside another girl Ali, who was also on her way to Dublin, so we chatted for a lot of the flight from Denver to Philadelphia and with the other guy sitting with us in our row. They were so lovely! Turns out we all had about a 4+ hour layover in Philadelphia, so we we went for dinner together when we landed...and watched the hockey game (and Philly won!). We'd seen the stadium packed as we were flying into Philly, so it was cool to chill out in the restaurant watching the game...and especially when they won! We then headed out and went our separate ways and found our gates. Ali and I of course went together and found our gate and boarded the long flight to Dublin. Off on a new adventure, with new friends…..!!!
A while ago, I was approached to teach a workshop when I was in Denver, so since I was here, we made it happen. Both Ailie and I had to get up really early to teach a workshop in the morning to a bunch of harp and fiddle students. Apart from the lack of sleeping in (Murphy's Law for musicians-- when you have a really nice hotel room, you will always have to leave early and can't enjoy sleeping in, in a big comfy bed!), we were excited to meet the local musicians and teach. Everyone was so lovely and really into what were were learning and playing. I taught 2 tunes and some techniques and ornaments to help them out and they were awesome! We had a blast!
The band met up with us and picked us up and we were off to Greely. It was a nice sunny ride up and we arrived and got to hang out with Norah's friends who she went to school in Ireland with. Great musicians and super nice people. It was a lovely house and we got settled and then headed to the venue to set up and sound check. We played in a beautiful church and it was a pretty packed crowd. What amazingly supportive and nice people in Greely! Wow! Everyone was so lovely and we had a super fun show. A perfect way to end off the US part of the tour. We hung out at the house afterwards and did some last minute online business and jammed a bit and then hit the sack as Norah and I were to be up veeeeery early the next morning for flights. Wow, that went by so quickly, but there is so much more touring adventures to come! :)
We drove from our lives in a 'Western Movie' for the past 2 days back to the city life in Denver. We arrived at our hotel, which was quite nice, and realized there was a huge conference going on. As we were traipsing through the crowds of people with our instruments and bags, we realized it was a convention of people learning the Millionaire Match and how to become a Millionaire! How funny! I wonder if we should have done that instead? Who are we kidding, everyone knows how many millions musicians make and how glamorous our lives are!!! hahaha
We had about an hour off of which I had to do a few errands, and then we were off to our show in Denver at the Soiled Dove. It was a really lovely show and a super cool venue. So many people have played there and the presenters were awesome! There was an opening act of a local comedian which was a fun twist to the night that we don't normally have, but he was awesome! We had a great time and even got to hang out afterwards with some friends who came to the show. All in all, it was a great night!
We were up early for school today. Well, to perform and give a demo for a few schools in the area! First one in Walsenburg then we went to one in La Vita, CO where we were treated to a lovely school cafeteria meal. Then the best part of the day: we all got to try and play all the different horn instruments of which none of us could play! Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba....it was hilarious! Norah, Cillian and I ended up being able to play a few notes after the lovely teacher put fingering on the board for us! We had a good jam...good for us because it was hilarious fun....bad for the people that had to listen to us! We then taught a large class of the top music students at the school and Norah got to teach recorder!
Headed to the hotel for a bit of a rest then off to sound check at the Fox theater a block away. Funky beautiful old theater. We headed back to the hotel for a very yummy dinner and then got ready and off to the gig.
It was SO great to see so many of the teenagers from the 2 highschools there at our gig. We got to chat and hang out a bit with them during intermission. Some of them even were dancing in the aisles as we played! So much fun!
They held a reception for us after the show back at the hotel and we got to meet and chat with some of the most interesting people from around the area! Eventually we all went to bed. It was a great day.
We were up veeeery early to fly from St. Paul to Denver. We definitely looked like a touring band at the airport! We got to Denver and had to rent a van…same kind of van as in MN, just not as fancy. All our luggage is broken…or should I say, well travelled, except Fiona's. Lucky girl! Denver was really warm….20c! yay! We drove to Wasenburg, which seemed like forever, but we were just tired and anxious to get there. We did have some fun on the way there, as I was driving and Ailie was in the front passenger seat making stories and photos and videos on my phone. Good times in a car!
Not knowing what to expect in this little town, we were pleasantly surprised when we finally arrived. It looked just like out of a western movie! Lots of cowboys, middle of nowhere, everything old and tumbleweed blowing in the streets. It was a funky hotel and we each got our own rooms! It's the little things! :) I quickly had a Skype band meeting with The Fretless about our upcoming tours and then the OT gang and I headed to La Vita for a potluck dinner our hosts were having for us. Such nice and interesting people with unique stories. This is why being on the road as a musician is such a cool job! After a while, we headed back and hit the sack as we were all quite exhausted from the past 24hrs.
Nothing too exciting to report today other than another lovely gig in MN. We got up, had breakfast and got our things together to head to Brainerd. It wasn't too bad of a trip, but things are starting to get pretty cold! Thank goodness for heaters! We headed to the gig for soundcheck, food and the show. It was a lovely audience and we had a great time, but knew we had a veeeeery early morning the next day, so we had to do a little juggling to sort out who was taking what and where-- regarding CD's and instruments. I tell you, it's all very glamorous! NOT! It was quite late by the time we all got settled, but it was all sorted and we were quite happy to see our pillows!
Day off in Bemidji!!! We all got a good sleep in and lots of work done today...because today is: the Charity Single's release day!!!!! Yay!!! The Outside track is releasing 'The Mountain Road' as a single for 3 different charities in all our our respective countries.
Check out the track here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-mountain-road-single/id518674046
The OT gang was hard at work doing business stuff and I got to do my own work and business for my own stuff and the upcoming Fretless CD Release tour in June!
A day off in the life of a musician is never really a day off. There is always something to do-- practice, write, arrange, book gigs, promotion etc. Either way, a day off from the grind of the road is quite a nice and welcome treat in the middle of a tour.
We got taken on a boat ride on the lake by the house which was really nice and relaxing, although a bit cold. We didn't mind, because of the tranquility of it all! We also were treated to a lovely dinner and even got to play board games after dinner! Such fun and civility for us! We all went to bed relaxed and rested.
Sunday April 22, 2012
After a wonderful sleep I was up early...not on purpose, and used the time to catch up on some work and then headed out to pick up Cillian, Fiona and Ailie and head up to Bemidji, MN. Norah and her hubby Brian went up earlier with 2 other friends, Cory and Danielle, as Brian and Cory are from Bemidji and were going to play for a retirement home at 3pm. After a necessary Starbucks stop, we made our way 4 1/2hrs north to Bemidji with the company of podcasts of 'How Stuff Works'. Very interesting I must say!
We finally arrived in Bemidji, as we had heard so much about it from Norah, Brian and Cory we were looking forward to finally seeing it for ourselves! I was most excited about the fact that as you go over the bridge into town it tells you all across the bridge that you are going over the Mississippi River! I was pretty excited...mostly because you hear of this river and have fun games spelling it with your friends as a kid and then finally seeing it for real was pretty neat! I even said the little saying in my head as we were crossing it! We arrived at the venue and unloaded our gear and then found a cool little coffeeshop to hang out in, grab a sandwich and a coffee and use the wifi, until Norah and Brian were done and we were able to go together and do our sound check...since Brian was doing sound for us. We eventually headed over to Headwater Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church and got all set up and sound checked and the volunteers had made everyone home made soups and bread for dinner for the community. How cool! It was SUCH good soup too! Bellies full, we got changed and ready for the gig and since there were no changerooms and only 1 small bathroom and many people already in the church, we used the van as a makeshift changeroom. How glamourous! One at a time we changed and got ready and all of us eventually ended up hanging out in the van listening to some good hit pop songs to pump us up before the gig. Anyone who walked by and heard Phil Collins pumping from our windows (thanks to Ailie who is a big fan) got a good laugh! It was such a gorgeous sunny day, so it was quite nice hanging outside or in the van before the show.
What an amazingly appreciative audience! We had such a fun show and everyone was so into the music and having such a great time. From the wee little ones to the much more mature ones...we all had a great time! Thanks also to Brian for the great sound...and for just being hilarious and awesome in general. There were a few funny moments, including the dance board in front of the small raised stage which was warped and was a bit of a trampoline to dance on. Good exercise I suppose...especially when my clicker fell off! I was a little worried since the front row was literally at the front of the dance board, but luckily the clicker didn't go too far! The other funny moment was the fact that the stage was quite small to fit us all on with our instruments, and Ailie and I were at the very ends of the stage. Because Ailie has her harp on a stool, she doesn't get to move to much, but I didn't have much room next to the accordion and then having to move forwards a bit to sing into the mic. So, during one of the later tunes in our 2nd set, I was about to do a solo and went to tap my foot and there was no stage under my foot and I made quite a graceful dissappearance off the stage for a second....but didn't miss a beat! It was really funny! The 'stage' was only a few inches high, like a step, so I didn't fall or anything, it just caught me quite off guard and made the entire band bust out laughing...as well as the audience! Funny times!
After the show we packed up and went to Brian's parents place, which was where we were staying for the night. The most beautiful house on the lake. Cory and Danielle came over also, (who were staying at Cory's house just down the road) and we had a nice hang out before we all decided to go to bed. Since we don't live in the same city, it's nice to visit when you can! All in all, and awesome day...made even more awesome with the much anticipated day off and sleep in the next day! Yipee!!! :-)
Saturday April 21, 2012
Some of us got a bit of a sleep in which was nice. Norah and Ailie taught 2 very early harp and flute lessons and I ended up waking up early unfortunately, but was well rested and decided to go for a run while I had the chance. I got all ready and walked outside...and it was snowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to really digest this, because just yesterday it was 20c in Fairfield, Iowa and today in Duluth, Minnesota it was SNOWING!?!?! It made for a very cold, but really fun and beautiful run as the snowflakes were falling all around. It really took everyone by surprise when I got back to the house to shower and pack up. Coming back from the run also gave me a chance to admire the beautiful house we were staying in! It looked like a real live doll house! It was stunning. I later found out that the house used to be called the ice cream house because of the colours it was painted. After we were all packed in the van again we headed to St. Paul, MN.
We went to Norah's house to drop off suitcases etc and Norah decided to stay there and get some work done for the few hours she could be at home for! The rest of us went to the Mall of America. Oh yes. Mainly because Ailie had to go to the Apple store to get her computer fixed. We have had some fun and hilarious times at the Mall of America last summer and thought it would be fun to go back again. Not this time though. Of course it was a Saturday, so the mall was PACKED. About an hour later Cillian, Fiona, Ailie and I met back up exhausted and annoyed and left. Ailie did get her computer fixed and Fiona got a new pair of jeans. Mission Accomplished. We then went to the Celtic Junction and met up with Norah and her wonderful husband Brian. We had a rehearsal and sound check in the beautiful venue, had some dinner and got ready for the show. It was a full house and so great to be back and see so many good friends. Since Norah lives in St. Paul and works at the Center for Irish Music which hosts the Celtic Junction, we have spent a fair bit of time there over the past year and a half on different tours and I've definitely made some really great friends. The amazing Cormac & Natalie have made the Celtic Junction & Center for Irish Music an incredible and reputable venue and music school. The Fretless played there a month and a half ago and it was so much fun to be back again so soon and hang out with all my friends again...even if it's brief! We had the most fun gig! Thankyou to everyone who came out and of course Cormac for the awesome sound! We all hung out for a while afterwards and eventually headed back to our different places where we were staying for the night. I had the pleasure to be hosted by Cormac and Natalie and got a nice 'late' visit with them until we were all falling asleep and hit the sack.
Friday April 20, 2012
Driving driving driving driving driving driving. We left Fairfield around 6:45am and quickly stopped at Café Paradiso for coffee and cinnamon buns and hit the road for our impending 10hr drive. Other than our cramped legs and boredom in the car, we had a smooth ride. Norah and I traded off on the driving, while Cillian watched pretty much a whole season of Deadwood, Fiona played DJ and Ailie read an entire novel! We all of course took turns sleeping too...because that's just what happens in a car after a while...but not the driver of course!! We were headed to Duluth, MN and luckily it was a beautiful day for driving. We arrived in Duluth and I was quite excited to see the gigantic Lake Superior! I've seen some of the great lakes before, but Lake Superior is the big momma of them all! I kept referring to it as the ocean by accident it's that big!
We were about 2hrs early, so we found a nice little coffee shop/bakery and hung out there for a bit. We then headed to the venue at the Duluth Congregational Church, and were greeted by their big billboard sign advertising our show: The Outside Track: Celtic Superstars! 8pm. It was awesome and of course we all wanted a photo of it!
We did our soundcheck, which turned out to not be much, as we mainly went acoustic with a few mics to help with the vocals. We then were treated by a lovely homemade soup & salad dinner by our lovely hosts, and got to chill out for a bit in the really big and comfy 'green room' before we got ready for the show. Ailie was a big hit at that show with all the harp players around town, which was great. The show was really fun and everyone was so nice! It turned out that Fiona had a friend from her town in Scotland that was living in Duluth and going to school there, and he came out to the show. Afterwards, we all went back to our hosts beautiful house and had a little hang out and session for a few hours...and were even treated to some home made popcorn! Despite the LONG drive, it was a really great day. Fiona and I even got to re-live our childhood that night by getting the room with bunk beds!