Thursday, May 8, 2008

Shetland Ponies.... and Fiddlers

There are tumbleweeds blowing across my blog! Sorry for the lack of activity here the past few weeks. I'm back.

I spent the past week playing at the Shetland Folk Festival with Lissa Schneckenburger and now we are starting a week of gigs all around Denmark. Once again, we are joined by Keith Murphy on Guitar and Stefan Amidon on drums.

The Shetland Folk Festival lasts 5 days and is sandwiched between twelve hour long, over night ferry rides from Aberdeen to Shetland and back. All the performers for the festival are on the ferry together, so it's a huge party from the start. Here's a typical daily itinerary at the festival:

3:00 PM - Ride bus with four other bands to a remote village
4:00 PM - Sound check for concert
7:30 PM - Concert
11:30 PM - Ride bus back to Lerwick (the biggest town in Shetland)
12:00 AM - Party at the festival club. Huge sessions, dance parties, late night concerts
4:00 AM - Festival club closes, head to house party. More sessions etc.
7:00 AM - Breakfast
8:00 AM - Head to pub. More sessions and wackiness.

Stumble home sometime between 8:30 AM and noon.

And this goes on for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT!!!! It's insane.

Even though Americans are not cut of for this level of partying, we put in a solid showing. We really bonded with the great French Canadian band, Le Vent Du Nord, and shared the stage with them a few times. Shetlanders are known for their fiddle playing and partying stamina but the Quebecois boys gave them a run for their money and did us proud. It was a blast.

Here's a couple youtube clips of us at one of the shows:

Shetland is also insanely beautiful in a kind spare and stark way. This is the typical look of the countryside.

Tons of sheep, puffins, seals and of course, Shetland Ponies!

I really love coming to Europe to play, but I have to say the one thing that drives me up the wall is the currency. Don't get me wrong, I love that all of the bills are different colors and that these days as the American dollar continues to tank, it's like getting a pay raise over here, but the amount of change I end up with is staggering. My pockets are always loaded with fistfuls of change! And the coins here are freaking heavy. I guess they don't call them pounds for nothing!

That's all for now!