Well, I guess I ought to come clean with everybody… After nearly 3 glorious years of calling Montreal my home, I’m relocating to Toronto for the fall where the Brilliant String Band and I will be recording our second album at Andrew Collins’ Sytesound Studio. I can hardly wait! Don’t worry, I plan to be back in Montreal on a semi-regular basis as we rehearse our new tunes!
Since June, I feel like I’ve hardly set my feet down anywhere and happily so. We’ve been all over BC and Alberta, where we played South Country Fair and many a fine concert along the way. Sam Masterton and his pup Beau were my constant companions for that leg of the trip. Got home for one day before getting on a plane to Kentucky. Morehead Old Time Music Festival and Clifftop WV we’re the best!!! My pals in Montreal’s All-Day Breakfast String Band placed in the top five in the traditional band competition and darling Clelia Stephanini won the fiddle competition. Alas, I had to leave before I got to see it, but it was easy enough knowing I would be reunited with my Dutch-twin sister, Kristen Berkel and the talented Quintin Bart for the Fire and Water Music Festival in Lac du Bonnet MB. Dammit! Was that fun! New favourite music: Matt Epp, Mariachi Ghost, and T.J. Dawe.
After that, I had a few days down-time with my grandma then got on the train to perform all the way from Winnipeg to Vancouver. What a gorgeous train trip! Oh, and the food! ViaRail hits it out of the park. The staff are kind of the best part though, not to sound too warm and fuzzy, but it’s true!
After landing in Vancouver, I went to the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival (much thanks to Ted Crouch), where Harpoonist and the Axe-Murderer blew everyone away. The Crooked Brothers just keep getting better, I loved their show. Bruce Cockburn was an enormous highlight. I felt more Canadian just watching him from the very front, with his green guitar and his Greek-goddess fiddle-player. Princeton Traditional Music Festival got a dose of old-time and Cajun from me on my sweet little Martin 0-18 (my newest treasure!)
Got to Nimblefingers Bluegrass and Old-Time Workshop that same day, and spent a week learning from one of my heroes, Brad Leftwich. Such a kind and gentle man, and an expert old-time fiddler! Hope to visit him in Bloomington, Indiana to trade some gardening for a fiddle lesson. Sam Masterton and trusty Beau showed up during the end of week Honky Tonk dance (first annual, shall we say) and we got on stage at the festival the next day. Guitar and dobro duo is quickly becoming my favourite sound. Thanks a million times to Craig and Julie Korth, Lee Watson and all the other performers, including Riley Baugus and Alice Gerrard! That’s why I love old-time, those folks might perform at the Grammy’s and the like, but are always humble enough to stop and say “Hello” or in Riley’s case just sit down and jam with you for hours in the sun.
Well, that brings us pretty much up to speed. Things are great with me, can you tell? But enough about me, what about you?