There GO the kids!
I am writing from the home of lifetime family friends of Julia's McGill pal and pianist Ted Littlemore in Patricia Bay on Vancouver Island, looking out over the Bay as the rest of the house sleeps. I love getting up before anyone else and writing and planning and ruminating over the last evening's show.
We had a house concert here in this lovely home last night, where Ted and his brothers spent every summer since they were born. His Grannie Annie and our host went to school together. There were about 60 people in their living room for the concert, and love hovered everywhere. It was the first show Ted's parents and brothers had attended and it was delightful to see their reaction to hearing their Ted in a musical ensemble unlike anything he's ever done. Hey, it's unlike anything I'VE ever done! The vocal blend between him, Julia and I is heavenly (and as you know, I am a sucker for strong three part harmonies), and the musicality and skill of "The Kids", as I most commonly refer to them, is humbling. Truly awe inspiring.
And dare I say, this is the most fun I've EVER had touring. We just spent two weeks touring through the Okanagan and the Kootenays, my FAVOURITE place to tour in the summer, and let me tell you - there's nothing like traveling with two 20 year olds to light up life on the road. We cycled every chance we had, cranked up Adele in the car, and hit just about every Starbucks between White Rock and Revelstoke (the Kids' call, not mine!). Oh....correction - no Startbucks in Revelstoke, but the Modern Café exposed us to our first "Glory Bowls" which is now our new favourite meal. And of course, everywhere we go, there are fans that range from those who went to Pied Pumkin shows in 1974 to those who had never been to a Shari concert.
The coolest thing, was driving away from the home of my friends Sal and Trudy in Nelson, who I've known since the Pumkin days and ADORE, and having The Kids rave about how much they LOVED them. The connections between great humans continues. And here I am in Ted's world, discovering a whole new family of them.
But lest I sound nauseatingly saccharine about it all, there are low points. Like on the ferry yesterday when I knocked travel mug of tea over and swamped Julia's Mac laptop and iPhone. THAT was NOT a fun moment on the road, and the most expensive beverage EVER. It took a few minutes to recover my "it's just stuff" perspective, believe me. But it is...and I did.
Fast forward a week - now I'm in Portland at my sister's (again - early morning in a sleeping house) where we've spent the last few days with "The Loud Family", including son Mike and fam. Adoptive Mom Millie got the flu at the last minute, which is SO unfortunate since the concert was primarily so she could hear her son play with us. But we've had a blast here with all the nephews and their kids, my beloved childhood friend Jean Edwards, and colourful extensions of The Loud Family. And now, it appears Ted has become an honourary member.
Geez, I'd better send this thing before it becomes a boring "Dear Diary" saga.
Back on Bowen where now where we played an event celebrating 40 years of the pre-school that both Julia and Ted attending here on the island. (Awwwwww!) Heading to the historical Brackendale Art Gallery in Squamish on Sunday, on the eve of Julia's 21st birthday (How did THAT happen?!?!?) then a blissful week at home.
The High Bar Gang is ramping up - playing Whistler the afternoon of July 3rd, the Cedar Creek Winery in Kelowna on the 13th, and opening for Blue Rodeo at Malkin Bowl on Sept. 9th and 10th. Whoo hoo!
You'd think, after 37 years on the road I'd be damn tired of it. But truly, my sense of gratitude that I get to play music has never waned. It only gets deeper as the web of history I have with so many of the people who host, present, and attend concerts continues to grow. And it has definitely been re-inspired by touring with these two bright lights who embrace every new adventure and infuse the music with such fresh and stellar musicianship. I'm also keenly aware of the hunger we all have, more than ever in these times, for music that moves us - that reaches in and grabs our hearts. I am ever in awe of the power of music and feel honoured to serve it.
Okay, sure, I WOULD love to be traveling the world playing 3000 seat concert halls and have "people" and never have to shlep gear again. It takes a hell of a lot more energy to play 30 shows to 100 people. But the payoff is, this kind of grass roots touring connects me with so much of what's really important about the gift of music and being human. I'd hate to lose that - though I'd be happy have the challenge!
I'll be in touch again soon, but I'll post all the current dates below. We're adding more shows every day, so it's not too late to invite us to your community (or large living room) for a concert. (Our fave comment a few shows ago in our e-mail list book: "I went to Elton John last night and I enjoyed this evening more!". Heh heh...Sorry E.J. buddy...
And by the way, if you want info for a house concert listed here, just send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I'll send it to you.
Happy Trails and love to you all,