We had a fantastic late summer visit to Ireland where we drove the breathtaking Ring of Kerry between stopovers in Dublin at the iconic Hotel Clarence on Temple Bar. It was also a reunion with old friends Niall and Susan Varley, who I had last seen in Provincetown as they were just beginning their romance some years back. Niall lived and worked with Clayton in the late ‘90’s and early ‘00’s, as Clayton was just beginning his work with us. Our reunion with Niall and Susan gave the trip a warm and meaningful personal touch.
Traditional Irish music, central to Irish social life, reminded me how deep Celtic music runs through our own musical lexicon, especially in folk and country, but most prominently in Americana music where it is foundational for artists like Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and others who have blazed the trail for so many. It’s no wonder that Boston is a hotbed of Americana with its deep connections to Ireland.
Summer has put us several tracks further into our 14th full-length CD, with the help of drummer-producer Marco Giovino, engineers Dave Minehan, Dave Westner, Sam Margolis and Sarah Tudzin, and, shortly, John Sands and Andy Plaisted who will track drums for both the new and the old. John will rejoin us for the Steve Earle-inspired, “Judgement Day,” a new co-write with Kerri Powers, and Andy will come in for “Innocent Blood,” an older staple of our live shows. Speaking of show staples, Marco threw down for “Car” and “Jesus is Comin’ (To the Wrong Side of Town),” which we are thrilled to now have, as they say, “in the can.” These songs have been kicking around for a long time and it feels good to have them recorded.
Finally, we have a few sessions to go on what has been a very stubborn track, “Late for the Love.” Late for the Love is a “big chorus” song like Piece of This Town, and is also another “California” song with its Cali reference in the chorus. I feel like this is a big song for us and while it’s been tough to wrestle production-wise, I think we’re going to be happy we spent the time and effort on it. There are some songs that are stubborn, and this is one of them, as was another new song on this album, “Don’t Leave Me Lonely.” Lonely took a re-record of the electric and acoustic guitars and a replacement of drums with percussion, all with an outside producer, but Boston Globe writer Ed Symkus recently put “Lonely” at the top of his list of our songs, so there we are!
We wrapped our live shows in June with a very nice night at the Burren in Somerville where we played as a trio on a co-bill with Brendan Hogan. We pick back up on September 29th with a full band show with Andy and Stevie, at Vincent’s Worcester, a West Coast reunion show with Scarlet & Co at the Mint in LA for the Hunnypot Halloween party on October 30th, and a second Vincent’s show on Saturday November 24th, with Marco Giovino joining us on drums, which is Thanksgiving Weekend. Cool, right?!
I’m looking forward to getting out to play again, both here and in LA, where there’s a big fat piece of my heart. It’s wonderful to have such a warm and supportive community in California, to be reunited with the van Gogh Brothers here in Boston, and to have the opportunity to get over to the British Isles again. This balance of life is very gratifying and is what I had hoped for in our move back to Boston.
I hope you are all having a fantastic summer and are looking forward to good things for the fall. I hope to see some of you at our shows here and in LA in the coming weeks.
All the best and go well,