Saturday, March 22, 2008


Ok. I admit it. I have a google alert set for my name and the names of every band and project I am associated with. Lame? Perhaps. Self indulgent? Most definitely.

Anyway, this just appeared in my inbox and comes from the Sunday Times in London. I thought I'd share it with you since Crooked Still is part of it and a large chunk of the piece is about my good friend and sometimes neighbor, Sam Amidon.

Sam Amidon and the folk revival

Also, Sam's mother Mary Alice Amidon has a blog, which you should read!


Last but not least, hip hop legend, Coolio, has a cooking show which is needless to say, amazing.

That's all for now. Happy Saturday night without a gig!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Way Life Should Be

I just got back from a run of shows in Maine and Boston with Lissa Schneckenburger! It was a great little warmup tour getting us ready for a bunch of CD release shows next month, which will celebrate the release of her new CD entitled "Song." Here's what it looks like:

Check out her spiffy new website too!

One of the shows was a house concert in Camden, ME at the home of Tess Gerritsen who is a New York Times best selling author! Traveling around as a musician, you meet a lot of relatively successful and famous musicians, but it's not everyday you meet an author whose work is consistently listed with genre fiction heavyweights such as Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton! She's also a pretty damn good fiddle player!

I love artist residencies at venues. Giving a musician a weekly time slot for a set period of time where they can be loose, experiment with new material or new collaboration and simply play music they would otherwise not play if it were a typical gig. I think that sometimes musicians, myself included, get too caught up in putting on a "show" and forget to be spontaneous and relaxed and play for the sake of playing. A residency allows a musician to get away from their typical thing in a format that gives the audience a glimpse into their creative process.

I've recently been a part of two fantastic residencies in Boston. I mentioned a couple of posts ago being a part of Rose Polenzani's Sub Rosa series which is a residency of sorts and last Saturday night I played a bit with fiddler Hanneke Cassel at her late night residency at Club Passim. It was a blast and great to see and hear Hanneke in some different musical settings than her usual trio!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


In honor of my love for the absentee ballot, which I cast here in Vermont a week ago, I have posted a video of Crooked Still rehearsing "The Absentee" in the studio! I hope you like it. Please get out and vote!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bluegrass, Limos and Espresso

People love Bluegrass. I mean, I love bluegrass too, but some people love it so much that they'll park themselves in a hotel lobby for four days straight, in the middle of February, and play music with everyone and anyone who comes through the door.

Indoor bluegrass festivals such as Wintergrass in Tacoma, WA generate a kind of hive mentality, with musicians and fans swarming to listen to and play as much music as they possibly can before they have to go back into hiding before the summer months. I think because it is indoors and the frenetic energy can't escape outside, it creates a sort of human equivalent to sonic feedback. It's actually pretty cool.

Anyway, Wintergrass was an amazing time! It was Crooked Still's first festival appearance with the new lineup and it went great. We had Casey Driessen filling in for Brittany Haas on fiddle (she's in panama studying sloths or something). For a cool review of our set check out Here's the view of Mt. Rainier from my hotel room:

I also heard some great music, the highlight of which was a late night jam session in a hotel room with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall and the Swedish band Vasen.

Before heading to Tacoma we were in Big Sky, Montana a week earlier where our ride to the airport was a SUV stretch limo! As if the SUV wasn't obnoxious enough, someone had to create this beast:

I have to say, it was pretty awesome to ride in it!

Other than all the great music at Wintergrass, the high point of the weekend was taking a trip with Aoife O'Donovan, Kimber Ludiker and Margaret Glaspy up to Seattle to an espresso place called Vivace. Seriously, there is no better espresso in the country. If you are within a hundred mile radius of Seattle, you have to go!

mmm, mmm.

I also got to visit the Fremont troll, which is very cool, if not a little creepy. That's a real VW bug it's holding on to.

This week I went into Boston to participate in Rose Polenzani's crazy monthly event at the Lizard Lounge called Sub Rosa. It is sort of a curated open mic. Well, actually, it's more of a closed mic, but I think that's a good thing. Different people get up and sing a song or two and nobody knows it and you have to learn it on the fly. It's awesome and so is Rose. Check her out at