Morrisons and Avellone are back at home after driving the full 20 hours immediately following our Dolores show. The rental van is going back, and we’ll go visit our real van soon. Phil was dropped off at Salt Lake City to catch a flight back that morning. He is off to the mountains for some classical shenanigans. The Benedetti’s are in Boulder. They’ll be dropping off the rental and picking up the Trans-Van today, and beginning the long journey home.
Colorado was beautiful and – for the last two days – very wet. Great times were had, and the vow to return sooner rather than later was made.
The band will reunite this weekend in Veneta, OR for the Oregon Country Faire, and then it’s off for another 2 weeks to Wyoming and back. Check all those tour dates!
We rolled into Telluride in the evening. The route was gorgeous and serendipitous – we were able to rendezvous with beloved family friend Michael Gulezian – himself on tour heading north from Durango. We had a nice “dude, this is crazy” hug session on the side of the road in Ridgeway. Touring is fun.
Poor Man’s Whiskey was in town, and they popped by the ‘ol Steaming Bean for a little shit-shooting before our respective shows. Those guys are awesome. We rocked the Bean that night. Well, most of us did. I tried to. I really did. I just had one of them nights. I think it was the result of over a week of non-stop driving and non-stop-not-sleeping. Whatever the reasons, I felt like I was in one of those dreams where all of sudden you’re on stage with a bass in your hands, and a microphone in front of you… but maybe you’re an insurance salesman with a passion for model trains. What is this giant 4-stringed thing? How do these songs go? You want me to sing?? Kind of strangely nightmarish. Oh – and I was seriously and sadly stone-cold sober. So, we can rule out that. My voice turned into Tom-Waits-after-a-bout-with-Strep at about 8pm last night… and by the time we took the stage I sounded like a frog that had been chewing on gravel. Sooo rough.
It’s crazy that after a lifetime of playing and performing, all the rehearsing we do, all the schooling, the working, the memorizing… you can still have a rough night. Luckily there are 4 other capable and awesome dudes in the group that a soul can lean on in times of trouble. I’m hoping that the show was better on the other side of the stage than it was in my noggin.
At any rate, it’s a gorgeous morning here in Telluride. It rained all night, and the smoke and haze that (reportedly) had been in the air is gone replaced by fresh, clean goodness. Nothing like some giant, rugged, rocky mountains and waterfalls to put some perspective on things. We’ll head to Dolores tonight, hope for musical redemption, and enjoy the gondola ride in the meantime.
It’s 9am on Friday, and we played Steve’s Guitars last night in Carbondale, Colorado. We’re at about 6,000 feet here which can make singing and fake-jaw-harp playing a bit tricksy. The passes to get in to Carbondale top out at over 10,000 feet. We miss our big red van, but best not to drag her over such rocky and crazy terrain if she’s not in prime fighting condition, right? As for the family van – we had our doubts with ‘ol Trans-Van. She just wasn’t cutting it going up hills. And these are serious hills on I-70 across the Rockies. So we left her with a mechanic in Boulder, and rented. It is so painful. Rather than this being the tour of two awesome and near-ancient vans roaming and dominating the countryside, we are now the tour of 2 plain, character-less, white rental vehicles. Where is the vibe? Where is the shag carpet? Where are the captains chairs?? (–weep, sob, bemoan — )
… On the bright side, our vehicles function as they are supposed to. (pause to knock on wood…)
So – like I was saying, we’re in Carbondale. We really like this place. Last summer we were here, made great friends, were introduced to great people and great hotsprings, ran into Uncle Jesse’s wife from Full House and generally had great times. The band van rolled in (sans myself and family, as we were negotiating mechanics and rental cars in Boulder) and played at a summer music camp run by our Carbondale guide and friend, Shanti. I’m sure it was awesome. Perhaps lacking some fatherly wisdom, solid basslines, and Star Wars references, but I’m sure they did just fine.
Steve’s Guitars was a blast. The dynamic in the room was much more subdued than last year which allowed us to really listen to each other, get pretty comfortable (read: unprofessional) on stage, and – at times – downright musical. It was real good times. Steve put us up for the night, so we slept surrounded by the spirits of a thousand groovy and vibe-filled instruments. We dreamed dreamy dreams. We dreampt in song. We sang in perfect 9 part harmony all the night through, and awoke to the sound of six thousand strings vibrating in sympathetic time.
It’s a beautiful morning here. We’re off to Telluride today. Wish us happy trails, and I’ll do my best to put a post up tomorrow as well.
I type this blog post from the second story of an 1800’s frontier hotel in the town of Gold Hill, CO. It looks like development in the main section of town stopped in 1865. Lots of logs, cabins, hitching posts, old-timey wood and a vibe of really and truly being in the West. It is amazing. Kind of makes me feel guilty to be using a computer to send words and images via magic to the central brain core of the internet superhighway.
The rental van is… a rental van. It is big and white, runs well, fits everything, has air conditioning… all those kinds of things. And we are happy with it. But we don’t love it. We miss our big red van – back in the garage at home.
The Trans-Van (aka: The Benedetti Family Van) is from the 70’s, has porthole windows, a stove, a bed, fits all kinds of things… but doesn’t go up mountains. And we are in the Rockies. We love it, but we are not happy with it. Big thanks to Norm in Utah – both for his giant tow-truck, and for getting us back on the road again! Thanks to Matt and India for following us the whole way from Salt Lake at our top speed of 60 (20 up hills).
Yes, vans are fickle creatures.
The shows – thankfully – have been so fun that worrying about vans is a very distant and secondary feature. Last night we were in Fort Collins at Avogadro’s Number. Great spot! We were outside in the very warm Colorado Summer enjoying the lovely dancers, the awesome accomodations just across the courtyard (thanks Rob!) and the food and drink.
Today we were celebrating the Fourth of July in Gold Hill. I already mentioned that it is a page right out of an Old Western Movie… now just add a bunch of holiday revelers, delicious barbecue, serious dancing, and tons of great music (not trying to refer to ourselves here – there was great music up on stage allll day long), and you’ll be seeing the more focused scene of our day.
I’m up in the room now with the lights off – wife and baby are sleeping, and I’m about ready to go wash off my dirty feet and crash out. Happy Fourth of July everyone. Tomorrow we head for the mountain passes and Carbondale, and then Telluride and then Dolores. Damn, but Colorado is a beautiful state.
When we rolled up into the band camping area of Kate Wolf on Friday, the first thing we saw was Camp Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit. They were our neighbors. Then Poor Man’s Whiskey rolled in later. More neighbors. Good friends in a big oak glen, with amazing music, complimentary massages, good food, and the most welcoming crowd any ‘lil string band could ask for.
(here we are on our way to the Friday afternoon set)
We opened the festival over on the Utah-pia stage, and were completely overwhelmed with awesome-crowdness. You people are beautiful. The dance floor was packed by song 2, and there were folks singing along the whole dang time. By 4:30 Friday, we were – officially – done. And then the full festival partying began. There were campfires to visit and songs to sing, and beers to drink, and people to meet. … and we didn’t have any obligations until midnight Saturday. Nothing to wake up for, nothing to worry about. Made for a fine, fine evening.
Saturday we got to enjoy swimming holes and killer music – Brokedown in Bakersfield was there and slayed it. So damn good! We chased bands around the stages for most of the afternoon and evening before we got down to some serious warm-ups and special-guest-wrangling. We had the midnight, late-late set time on the Arlo Stage Saturday night. Glor. I. Ous. Hot Damn. We had Poor Man’s Whiskey and Good Luck Thrift Store guys up there with us, we had a massive dance party, we had delicious beverages, we had a crowd that bands dream about in their most runaway-far-fetched-could-it-ever-be-this-good kind of dreams.
Thanks to all you Kate Wolf workers and volunteers and festy-goers for a killer weekend.
We are now hoping that the mystery fluid leaking from the big red van can be fixed and made good and safe so that we can depart for our Colorado dates. Gio (…me? is it weird to be in 1st and 3rd person at the same time?) is in Winnamucca in the Trans Van with family and friends. This will be the Benedetti caravan tour. Look at the glory of the Trans Van in the desert. It is home!