I’ve been very blessed to be able to play some really cool shows lately. In driggs idaho, I opened for dark star orchestra at a drive in movie theater, fully operational with the FM transmission, one of the last functional, operating drive ins of its kind. I remember in high school, our local drive in had 5 dollar sundays where it would cost 5 dollars per car load, meaning we’d all meet in the parking lot and pile coolers and folding lounge chairs, as well as about 10 people in the back of a pick up and…drive on in. Ahh good times.  The show at driggs was the first time they tried anything like this at the site.  The first couple hundred cars got to actully drive in to the venue. Dark star sounded great as usual, playing songs like picasso moon (bigger than a drive in movie ooh wee) to a giant crowd response.  JK from dark star also told me a secret (which is public knowledge now) that he had been rehearsing in california with bob weir,phill lesh, jeff cheminti,joe russo and jay lane as the new band” further”. This excited me greatly to hear about upcoming shows with this line up. From there we went to sandpoint idaho, where unlike driggs, it was west coast time. The festival at sand point has been happening for about 23 years and these wonderful people have this thing dialed in. It’s set up in a small baseball/football stadium right next to the water. The large crowd in front of me has been trained over the years to sit either on the ground or in cool short chairs that you can rent at the festival, so folks lined up early to claim their spots.  There were a bunch of dancers on the sides but in between the stage and sound board, everyone sat respectfuly. It had a little bit of the newport folk fest vibe but with more crowd chatter, or like telluride bluegrass without all the wafting doobie smoke.  We were taken care of by a wonderfuly interesting dude nicknamed “rug”. I always try to have a rug or carpet of some kind provided for me so I don’t get splinters in my feet. Well, “rug” had one for me. Only it was very special, sentimental and possibly magical. Before I could stand on the special carpet (which apparently was purchased some where like afganistan around the time of my birth) I had to pass a foot inspection. “Rug” came prepared with a bag of supplys from the hospital. He proceeded to put on a full body hospital jumper, little covers for his shoes, rubber gloves and of course a mask. He started pulling out things like sample jars, mid evil looking clamps and doctor tools that looked like they could inflict pain on me. He vaugely glanced at my feet and despite the fungus spores growing out of my right foot toenails, (not really but I could’ve and he wouldn’t of noticed) I passed the inspection and was granted permission to perform on his carpet.  Thanks “rug”.  Since he was all dressed and ready to operate, “rug” went over to the headliners trailer (donavan frankenreiter (sp), who is totaly layed back west coast style cool) to see if there were any medical procedures he could perform. They all wanted those coffee enemas, so “Rug” ran away. Fast. Very interesting show to say the least. From there we drove to spokane and went to bed at 12:30am only to rejoin at 3:45 am to go to the airport to fly a couple flights to get columbus, ohio to play at the one and only SHAMY BASH. Jason shammy along with his 5 awesome partners put on a sweet festival at a site I’ve  played at before a while back at one of the “hookavilles”. The stage was a permanent structure with a roof that stretched all the way back past the sound board, making the perfect site for a rainy fest. Fortunately, the weather was perfect. Nestled in a little, all natural bowl, the stage has hosted such stars as dolly parton and johnny cash who allegedly fell going both up and down the stairs leading to the back stage. When we pulled in, we were immediately given a golf cart (which is jokingly in our festival contract. One gets supplied for us via the contract about once every 3 years.) So needless to say, I jumped on and tore around the site, pedal to the metal. When I came back, I was treated to the super uplifting, positive sounds of mike perkins and his band. After mike was the boogie matrix mechanism, who was kind enough to invite me to sit in on percussion.  Other bands that day were bum wealthy, under the sun, jahman brahman, stretch lefty, jones for revival, and the rumpke mountain boys. Shammy bash was a  great festival, hosting what appeared to be a tight community of musicians that I felt honored to be around. The following week I was lucky enough to play 2 nights at the very special, mishawaka amphitheater just outside ft. Collins, CO, in the poudre canyon. The first night was solo with gibb droll sitting in on guitar and me on bass at the end of the first set. The whole show was pumped up with the circular energy that I crave. The energy that I give is absorbed and sent back to me from the super cool audience. The next night was the band night with Keith moseley on bass, jeff sipe on drums, and gibb droll on electric guitar. We only had 2 shows together this summer, the first being a 90 min set at gathering of the vibes. So since we had the whole night to ourselves and so many songs that we love to play together, we proceeded to do 2, two hour sets.  It was a blast. This leads me to the weekend I just finished. I’m thumbing this out in the charlotte airport where I just took a break to be a total geek and get a picture with cedric “the entertainer” who was genuinely not bothered by me. He is, however, an amazing actor and could’ve been pretending he wasn’t anyway. We flew down to alabama to a college show in tuscalusa. It was for the students and was not allowed to be advertised on the website. The show was sponsored by costa del mar (sun glasses), which means we were styled with some baddass frames for free. Woooo. Thanks nicole at costa del mar. A wonderful funk band playing all the hits went on first. Then me. I was joined by chuck and and al from moe. on my last song, “birds of a feather” by phish. (Which was a request.) After me was robert earl keen playing his style of rockin jam country americana. I had never seen or heard his music but was familar with his name through some todd snider songs where he mentions him. He was cool and quite pleasant to meet. After robert played, moe did the closing set. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay because of an early flight from birmingham to charlotte where we once drove up in the beauty of boone for the 2nd “music on the mountain top” festival.  Acoustic syndicate was jamming and sounding incredible when we got there with steve mcmurry’s voice echoing through the canyon. Ahhh big daddy, you fill my soul with goodness. Thank you.  After acoustic syndicate was sam bush and his band. I have been a HUGE sam bush fan for years. The strength in numbers record was a soundtrack to my life for a while. Its one of those super group, instrumental records that I can sing along to. Also new grass revival had some songs that I’ve  covered like “reach”, not to mention all the amazing sets and and sit ins that he has done at the telluride bluegrass festival, one of my favorite festivals I was lucky to play in 2003. I went 7 years in a row before that as festivarian. (What do I have to do to play that festival again? Craig? Play for free? Will that do it?) Sam bush is and will always be the “king of telluride”. So to say the least, I was excited to hang and hopefully play with him. We had actually met and played a few songs together at the warren haynes christmas jam a couple of years ago. I have photos framed on my wall to document that. On Saturday night, we talked briefly before his set and made plans to sit in with each other during both of our sets. I came up on his encore to play and help sing cripple creek by the band, which went into an old bluegrass standard that I pretended I knew. It was a rush. Sam was cracking jokes with me the whole time during the song and sharing his clear, deliciously smooth beverage with me during the guitar players solo. There we were, laughing, drinking and carrying on all while his kickass band jammed. It was slightly sureal and something I will never forget. During my set, sam came up with me and we played maggies farm and his version of sailin’ shoes. Not quite as cool as when he and jerry douglas plays it but very very close.  Like most festivals, this one was behind shcedule. Unfortunately, local sound ordinances were being enforced by some of boones uniformed finest. Boogie (who is filling in for andrew queen for a while as my stage manager) couldn’t give me a straight answer on when I had to be off.  We knew I was supposed to be off around 11:30, but a band a year prior (maybe perpetual groove) got to play until 11:45, so we were kind of going with that. Then I got reports that the situation was heating up off stage. Jimmy,the festival promoter was being hastled by the cops as they threatened to pull the power and take him off to lock up if he didn’t take control and make me stop. Sam bush got in on it by going over to the police and getting “andy griffith” on their asses. Turning on his southern accect charm (which I wouldn’t imagine would be hard with him being from kentucky) saying things like “well you know officer, if you pull him off now, you still have to let him do an encore”. Meanwhile, Lou (my sound engineer/tour manager) had the police standing next to him, being nice and apologetic while politely saying that he hated to have cut me off but that he had to. Lou was in direct contact with me through my in ear monitor headphones telling me I have exactly 5 minuteFs. After 4 minutes, he told me I have exactly one minute before the friendly, yet serious cop starts writing citations and taking people off to jail. Being an audience member my self, I tried to keep the audience informed by way of improv lyrics on the situation. People were not happy. When the cop told lou I had one minute and Lou told me, I then told the crowd. This apparently made the cop laugh. When I came off stage, sam was there to greet me saying that he’d smoothed everything out and I should do an encore.  I felt I should too, but It wouldn’t have been worth people going to jail over.  So to all the people who booed and felt like they got jipped with a 1 hour set and no encore, I’m deeply sorry. My hands were tied while others could’ve been handcuffed. All the reason for me to play that festival again next year. Next time, sam should play last. Good times.

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