May 3, 2015

Arizona is hot and dry.

That’s not news to anyone but I always forget how hot and how dry it actually is.

We hit Quartzsite, just over the Arizona border from California, and stopped to get gas. In case you don’t know - the price of gas drops about $1 a gallon over the Arizona border. We typically stop at the same gas station every trip, you get out and the heat just hits you like a dusty rag.

Damn. And they put a prison out here. Yes, Blythe, CA is the home of a State prison and it’s just 22 miles from Quartzsite. I get that people are in jail for crimes but putting them in the desert seems extra cruel.


To prepare for the Tucson Folk Festival today I have been drinking water. Correction: I have been pounding water, crystal light iced tea, gatorade…  Last time we played here I got chapped lips, migraine headaches and was just generally miserable. Being on stage and feeling slightly dehydrated is never good, your voice cracks, your lips are dry - I was playing some harmonica today and if you got no moisture the damn thing just sticks to your lips like the kid in “A Christmas Story”’s tongue to a flagpole.

So the show went great. It went fast. We got 5 songs in and had planned on 6. That is a short set for us. It’s tough to truly do a representative set in 5 songs. Hell, 6 is only slightly better. (we had a sing along planned!) I looked at the clock and I’d swear we still had 5 minutes to our set. Oh well.

But the crowd was so awesome. I will take 5 song set to an attentive festival crowd over an hour in a bar with the game on at the same time. We got really nice compliments after and sold some cds. Had a guy from the festival say to me; “She [Tracy] started singing and I thought ‘oh, so she’s the singer’ and then you sang the next song and sounded amazing and the two of you together is just the total package! You two are so Pro.”


I struggle with what that really means.

We came home and settled in for an epic game of trivial pursuit* and listening to some music here. Last week I read a study that said most people over the age of 33 don’t listen to any new music. Today a crowd of folks mostly over 33 listened to a lot of new music. Hours of it. Some of them bought cds. Thank god for people bucking the studies. Here at the inlaws place my father in law put in a mix cd I made him and it had the song titles that I printed up and they had listened to the mix and put a checkmark on the ones they liked and X’s** next to the ones they didn’t like.

More people bucking the trends. We all grow old but it doesn’t mean we have to stop learning or liking new things.

They really liked Paul Kelly, Ronnie Fauss, The Mastersons (said it sounded like Tracy!), Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kurt Vile, Kathleen Edwards, Whitehorse, Civil Wars and Jason Isbell.

That’s a pretty awesome mix cd I must say.

Tomorrow we’re playing a “block party” here in their retirement community. This is the third year we’ve done this show here and these folks are all coming out to hang out and hear something new to them.

That is awesome. Bringing the "new" to the people. You can play the big cities and be just another band or you can go to the small towns and find the people instead of making them have to find you.  I guess that’s what makes me feel “pro”.


*the 1981 original version is woefully out of date!

**On the not liked as much list: Old 97’s, Drive by Truckers, Izzy Stradlin, Billy Pilgrim.

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