Foghorn is off to Scandinavia as I write this on an early morning flight across the country. I’m watching the carvings of water on the earth below, somewhere out in the barren desert between Oregon and the Midwest. Little fields are scratched out of the land, some green with irrigation, and some brown and fallow. We’ve been doing non-Foghorn related enterprises this past month or so, and after some ol’ R&R, we are headed for Tønder, Denmark where we’ll hit the ground running, going straight from Hamburg to Tønder to perform at a big festival there that shares its town name. We’ll be there all weekend performing as Foghorn Stringband as well as collaborating with our pals, Jese Lege and Joel Savoy, as the Cajun Country Revival. We are looking forward to seeing old friends and new faces there as the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary! After the festival we will head off to Norway and Sweden for a little tour there. Since the band has never been there before to perform, we are all looking forward to seeing some new territory. We’ll be traveling to Gothenburg & Karlstadt in Sweden, and Oslo, Steinkjer, and Levanger in Norway. So if you have any Scandanavian relatives or friends, send them our way next week!
This late summer/fall, Foghorn will tour out east starting in St. Louis and working our way out to Raleigh, NC in time for the IBMA conference. Tell all those talent buyers at IBMA to hire the heck out of us next year! And pay us lots of money too!
Terrible as it sounds, Foghorn will be meeting up in Hawaii after Thanksgiving to record a new album. It is very exciting to be making a new record, especially since I think the last one we made was almost three years ago! The time flies so it does. We are definitely not keeping up with Dolly Parton who was known to have released 13 records in a year. Why Hawaii you may wonder? Well, if you were going to record in November, where would you do it? Actually we are fortunate to have some friends of the band there who happen to have a recording studio on site, and well, as you can imagine, it seemed like too good an idea to pass up.
We’ll close the year with a trip out to Boston to be part of a Celtic Christmas Sojourn, a production that will run 12 nights in different locations in and around the city. We’ll get to collaborate with our pals, fiddler, Kevin Burke, accordion player, Johnny Connelly, Irish band, Solas, and others in the show. Should be a grand time, and festive too!
This past month has been a pause from Foghorn travels. Caleb and myself have been appreciating some rare and much welcomed home time in Portland. Caleb is recovering from his vocal chord operation, and is gradually getting back to singing, along with some helpful physical therapy, gymnastics for his vocal chords. Other than that it has been a real treat to experience an extended period of home life. There is no need to buy veggies with a garden full of them, and some great meals have come of it. It has been hot in August, and being outdoors is a must. It’s been great to hang out with friends, and enjoy the summertime pleasure of swimming and hiking! A few wedding gigs here and there have kept us in work this month locally.
Sammy and Nadine have been back and forth to the Yukon, a place they now call home. This past month took them out to Newfoundland to what sounds like a great festival where they performed with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy. They are slowly bringing their possessions north and settling into their new city of Whitehorse, a place Nadine knows well as she used to live there.
Prior to August, to catch you all up with what has passed this summer, well, I think the last entry was before we were set to go to Germany for a month long tour back in May… We arrived in Frankfurt on May 1st and embarked on a three and a half week tour of Germany, most of which was spent in the south of Germany around Swabia, and Bavaria. We drank excellent German beer everywhere we went, and ate lots of good food too. We played at a garden show, we played in a seedy cowboy bar, we played nice concert halls, we played in a community center, we played at a famous old cafe that is known for its cakes, we played in a circus tent, and it was all wonderful. Not one German audience was boring, and I think that no night went by without several encores and at times a standing ovation! We felt so welcomed there and well cared for too. While in Germany, we had several opportunities to go out of Germany to neighboring Switzerland and Austria. The Alps are truly stunning. And reminds me what a treasure it is to live so near the North Cascades. We performed in Kitzbühl, a small Austrian skiing village, and in Zürich, and at a festival in the countryside southwest of Zürich.
After our travels in Germany were through, we flew to London to play a few shows in the UK. We played twice in different parts of London, played in Bristol, and headed out to the wild hills of Wales for a festival called Fire in the Mountain. We got to shack up in the most beautiful old Welsh cottage, turned from a mill house. I think it culminated with us on stage at midnight Saturday night playing in Crystal string vests, made in England… if you want to know what a Crystal string vest is, you might just have to look it up. At last after being abroad nearly 6 weeks, we ventured back to the ol’ West Coast.
We were once again accompanied on this Europe tour by my dear father, Norm Willms. He was a brave soul, coming with us for a solid 5 week tour, and I think he had a good time, though we do keep up a tiresome pace. He rolled with the punches and got to see the old country.
After we had a chance to unpack, do laundry and repack – ha!, We did a short run down the west coast, Ashland, Berkeley, then up to beautiful Grass Valley for the CBA’s Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival. And then the annual and always long-awaited pilgrimage to Weiser, ID for the National Old Time Fiddler’s contest, where we simply camp out in a dusty field for a week or so, and play tunes, visit with old friends, and it’s heaven. The drive up from Grass Valley through Nevada and eastern Oregon was gorgeous.
All of us took part, though not as Foghorn, in Caleb’s event in Portland in June, the Great Big Fais-Do-Do (fay-doe-doe) a three day music event featuring cajun and country music and lots of dancing. Then we took an overnight trip to Kentucky to play the ROMP Fest. The air was thick with humidity and heat, and that brewed up a thunderstorm that shut down the stage right after our last song of the set! Hardly a chance for applause as folks ran for their cars to escape the deluge. In mid-July we played out at the Bighorn Mountain Festival, a sweet little festival out in Wyoming. That town is home to the largest and free outdoor swimming pool… you can actually see it on google maps! Caleb and Sammy and I took a sojourn to the pool one afternoon, and the diving board was irresistible. We each took turns diving in over and over again!
That pretty much brings us up to the present…. it’s been a great summer filled with fun travels, and also some much appreciated home time to recoup, rejuvenate, and get inspired for the upcoming travels through the remainder of the year. Keep your eyes out for news of the new Foghorn Stringband album. It’ll be touring by early February 2015!