March 2014 ~ Utah, Colorado, New Mexico

:::Ogden, UT:::
When you think of Utah, you think rural, Mormons, and Park City… but I sure hadn’t envisioned the awesome microbrew filled hand tossed pizza pub of Slackwater found creek side in the little college town of Ogden.  They host live music regularly on the weekends and boast a nice sized windowed in wrap around patio area, which provided a backdrop and abundance of natural light for our performance in which we were centrally located amongst enthusiastic listeners.  This is either a diamond in the rough, or we have a lot to learn about Utah.

It was a great Sunday crowd with folks coming up to us between sets and after the show to pick up a CD or two.  There must be something in the water in these parts, as folks seemed to really know how to have a good time in Ogden.  We hope to make the trip back again soon!

:::Moab, UT:::
I had never really SEEN red rocks before we went to Moab!  Surrounded by a fortress of red mountains Moab is a sight to see, unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go check out the Arches National Park on this visit as we arrived just a bit before our show, but we’ll be back in a month, so no worries there.  And being that this is one of Cie’s mom’s favorite places to photograph, I cannot wait to come back!

Our venue for the evening, The Blu Pig had the perfect sized stage for the two of us.  The lounge was intimate yet large enough for folks to have a little side bar conversation without hindering the music.  And it came complete with a PA, something we always appreciate in a venue.  We met folks visiting town from Cali to Alaska and everyone was excited to hear our stories and listen to our songs. I enjoyed some delicious Blackened Cajun fish and Cie devoured his pulled pork sandy after the show.  I would be remiss to not mention the yummy sweet corn muffins with cinnamon butter.  Tasty eating.  We our definitely looking forward to our return show there next month! 

:::Aspen, CO:::
Assssssspen!  Hey Colorado, we are back!  We love Colorado and absolutely love Aspen, so we were excited to come play a return performance at Aspen Brewing Co.  The mix of the Blonde and the Red Ales they make (The Strawberry Blonde) is always a nice treat.  And the Aspenites always appreciate live music.  We made new friends with locals and enjoyed chatting between shows, and enjoyed reuniting with the bartender, Mclean.  Mclean even shared a little locals’ secret involving a free hot springs down the road near Carbondale, that we ended up visiting a couple of days later.  Did I mention we love Colorado?

:::Paonia, CO:::
Paonia is one of those secrets that Coloradans keep until they have decided you’ve made the cut into their secret list of awesome places and things to do.  We were not only excited to play back in Paonia (Colorado’s favorite hippy abode) at one of our favorite little breweries (Revolution Brewing), but we were also excited to share our music with the local public radio station, KVNF.  We enjoyed a fun interview and live performance with Amber McDaniel, and then headed back to the brewery to share our music again. 

The people of Paonia love their brews, music, and just their overall local ambience.  It’s hard to explain.  It just exudes community.  We meet new people every time we play there and see familiar faces along side them.  Revolution Brewing is the spot in town.  And we were happy to enjoy it to its full extent this time with the double doors behind the stage opening up into their back terrace/patio area.  Spring has sprung!

:::Mancos, CO:::
Mancos, Colorado and Mancos Valley Distillery may not be on everyone’s map per say, but it should be.  The distillery itself is well worth the trip.  The various varieties of rum are delicioso! And they have a nice sized stage within.  The owners will also give you the mini tour if you so choose.  And they host live music regularly on the weekends. 

This particular weekend happened to be a special event weekend for Mancos, with a 1920’s theme, so we were sure to come dressed in full garb (or at least the best we could do with our limited on the road resources).  We enjoyed a nice dancing crowd for the first half of the show, followed up by a group of avid listeners.  Great people, great rum, and great view (Mesa Verde is just down the road)! 

:::Albuquerque, NM:::
The Zinc Cellar Bar located in the Nob Hill area of Albuquerque has a cool vibe.  Low lighting and candlelit tables provide a very laid back ambience. Sound scaffolding behind the corner ‘stage’ area allow for pretty decent acoustics.  Folks descending into the cellar are there to enjoy an array of well-chosen wines, microbrews, and cocktails as well as a loaded list of small plates.  They also host live music most nights, so it’s always a fun place to stop into.  We enjoyed the company of some of our favorite ABQ fans, and had the pleasure of making new ones over the course of the evening. 

:::Santa Fe, NM:::
Whenever I think of Santa Fe I think of the movie, “The Newsies.”  There is a scene in the movie where the lead character goes into a heartfelt monologue and ballad about how life will surely be better when he gets to Santa Fe.  And surely it does, as we enjoyed sauntering around the historic plaza, taking in a few of the art galleries, shops, and boutiques, and sharing our music at The Cowgirl

The Cowgirl is not country western specific as one might expect.  However, many of the personnel do dawn western attire and bucket cowboy hats.  They host a variety of music, including our own blend of folk-rock.  I enjoyed debuting my skills on the high-hat that evening.  And we were delighted to find that we’d been joined by a couple of old friends from Iowa, now living in the area.  There was a good-sized eclectic crowd of tourists, locals, and gypsy musicians that had come out to enjoy a drink, dinner, and live music.  And the local paper had suggested and promoted our show.  What more could we ask?  Thanks Santa Fe!  We’ll be back!

Silver City, NM:::
Drives to new areas of the country can sometimes be underwhelming and uneventful…the drive from Socorro to Silver City was not definitely not that. After a short interstate stretch the GPS took us to a highway headed for the hills. We were a bit befuddled to see that we only had something like 70 or so miles to our destination, however it said the drive was going to take several more hours. And then came the mountains. Back and forth, back and forth. Switchback after switchback. Slowly climbing higher and higher, until we even got to the point where there were trees! Like real trees…not exactly something the New Mexico desert landscape is known for. Jack took it all in stride and eventually we meandered our way to Silver City.

Upon entering Silver City we were greet by the visitors center and a large sign with the words “Live: You Knew Me When” scrolling across it…a first for us so we were tickled pink. We then checked into our digs for the evening, the Palace Hotel in the center of downtown and directly across from our venue for the evening, the Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery. The hotel had a lot of old time charm and character…apparently one of the rooms is even haunted.

After a nap and a little walk around the town we loaded into Little Toad and had a truly memorable evening. Not only were the libations top notch, but the clientele were incredibly enthusiastic and into our music…literally dancing to every song we played…quite the accomplishment for some of our uniquely metered tunes. Hats off Silver City: to your town, your brewery/distiller, and your people. See you down the road!

:::Embudo, NM:::
Embudo is a small town, small town.  With that said, it’s a small town with a big heart.  We love playing at the local microbrewery, Blue Heron.  With this being our third performance at the brewery, we had a good feel for what to expect: a fun local crowd, happy root beer drinking kiddos frolicking in and out of the doors from the back patio area, and an overall great experience.  Oh, and of course there’s the excellent brews!  They are opening up a bigger location in a nearby town, and we hope to be gracing that stage soon!

:::Taos, NM:::
It is always fun to meet people randomly (at the Ojo Caliente Hot Springs for example), invite them to a show, and have them actually show up.  I’m going to get ahead of myself and also say that they showed up for a gig a week later in Colorado, making them repeat listeners and overall awesome people.  That said, as we began setting up to play in Taos at the Historic Taos Inn/Adobe Bar, we were pleased to find familiar faces already in the crowd. 

We had just spent the last couple of days catching a bit of R&R at the Ojo Caliente Hot Springs, which are absolutely amazeballs.  They have 4 different types of hot springs that focus on treating various parts of the body and the mind, including a mud bath.  No big deal… ;-) But I digress, we had a great time there, and made some new friends. 

The Adobe Bar exudes New Mexican character, and serves up an excellent margarita.  The bar was filled with guests, tourists, locals, and our new friends from the hot springs.  We enjoyed a laid back early evening set and definitely hope to make the Adobe Bar a permanent fixture on the tour schedule!

:::Littleton, CO:::
We’ve said it more than once, and I’ll say it again: beer and music are one of the best imaginable pairings.  Our venue, The Old Mill Brewery & Grill in Littleton brews their own unique beverages including a coconut porter to die for.  They also host live music with some regularity.  We enjoyed a nice little local crowd, good beer, and sharing our music.  Folks definitely appreciated what they heard, and we definitely appreciated being there. 

February 2014 ~ CA, AZ, NV, ID

:::Arcata, CA:::
I recently read somewhere that Eureka, California was one of the top 20 places you should visit in your 20’s.  Whoops, we missed the boat on that one (we are thirty).  That said I have to disagree with this assessment and modify the suggestion to Arcata, California, which happens to be just a short distance down the coast. 

Arcata has an adorable little Downtown Square with warm hometown people and students everywhere.  The one thing we found to be missing was your typical wifi infused coffee shop.  They don’t have one.  Weird.  But, what they lack in coffee shops they make up for 10 fold in their fabulous brewery, and as you might have already guessed, our venue for the evening RedwoodCurtain Brewing. 

Redwood Curtain Brewing is definitely a local hotspot and it’s easy to see why with an abundance of delicious brews on tap.  The majority of their weekend crowd pipes out of the nearby university from students to faculty and staff.  This place was rocking and ready to rock.  We had a great reception from listeners and some interesting conversations about climbing, geography, and the Redwoods after the show.   Such a cool spot!


:::Blue Lake, CA:::
Blue Lake does not have a lake, as the name would seem to imply.  According to the tourism periodical 101 Things to do in Eureka, it used to have a lake.  But now it doesn’t, as the river rerouted itself many many, many years ago.  It does however have a local brewery.  And in contrast to its neighbor, Arcata, it also has a local coffee shop/pizza joint.  Strange pairing, but great spot (Stardough’s Café). 

But I digress, as we played at the brewery down the road.  Beer and music has always been a perfect pairing, but even more so in the craft brewery scene.  I would elaborate on the more by saying especially at Mad River Brewing.  They have some fabulous beers too, might I add.  I especially enjoyed the IPA, while Cie sipped on the Belgian. 

Fun fact about Blue Lake is that it’s also home to a clown/mime school.  And we had a few alum in the audience.  Who knew?  They are also close by the Cypress Grove Goat Cheese makers, so they sent us with a nice sized chunk to gobble up after the gig.  Oooo ya!  Thanks Mad River Brewing, it must have been mad to leave this place!  ;-)

:::Avenue of the Giants:::
So we didn’t play a show on the Avenue of the Giants, but we sure visited these majestic beasts.  The Redwood Forrest is one of the most breathtaking awe-inspiring places I have ever been to.  And I would be doing you a disservice not to mention them now.  Go see these trees!  Some are thousands of years old, and hundreds of feet tall.  Just gorgeous.  They will seriously make you want to hug them.  And we did.

:::Carmel, CA:::
Further down the California coast you will find Carmel By-the-Sea.   We just happened to book a gig there on one of their busiest weekends, during the Pebble Beach PGA tournament.  Golfers and golf enthusiasts were literally everywhere.  The town has a lot to offer as well including countless boutiques, bakeries, coffee shops, eateries, and bars, including the superb little tasting room for De Tierra Vineyards

De Tierra Vineyards Tasting Room is found within a Tudor style home and exudes charm from the inside out, with a swinging Dutch door to boot.  Drawing folks in with live music and great wine we had a full house for the evening tasting.  And I can say from experience that the wine itself would have been worth it.  We’ll be back!

:::San Luis Obispo, CA:::
San Luis Obispo or SLO as the locals call it is home to Cal Poly and came off as a fun upper crust hipster town.   With much of the same charm as Santa Barbara, the town has it’s fair share of boutiques, restaurants, bars, and clubs to keep locals, tourists, and college kids falling in love with the town over and over again.  We enjoyed a lazy afternoon at one of the local coffee shops on the main drag sending out the usual slew of emails and then made our way over to the venue to set up. 

Luna Red has a nice sized lounge/bar area and a rather varied clientele.  We were set up at the far end of the lounge.  We enjoyed playing to college kids enjoying a nice cocktail or glass of vino and some small plates and the occasional wise hippie that came up to try to dance to our chill tunes.  We made some new friends and enjoyed a few small plates ourselves after the show.  The lowlighting lent a nice glow to the overall ambience of the place, and we left with an overall warm glow ourselves after a good show in SLO. 

:::Paso Robles, CA:::
We didn’t give ourselves enough time to really check out Paso Robles this time through as we stopped at our campground for the evening (which happened to overlook a lovely vineyard) prior to our show for a bit of shut eye and relaxation.  We did however, arrive at the Paso Robles Pour House with ample time to set up and chat with the locals.  The Pour House, formerly named Paso Robles Brewing has a great selection of microbrews and a nice little corner stage area with a PA. 

The bar patrons varied in age and nationality, which we love, and the owner and his staff were all very welcoming.  Folks were especially into listening to our original music (always a good sign), and we really enjoyed our Sunday afternoon.   I would recommend this place to any touring musician with good original repertoire. 

:::Fresno, CA:::
Yet another college town, Fresno lies fairly far east and inland in the great state of California.  So after a bit of a drive, and after quite the coincidence we found our way to Swiggs.  In relation to the coincidence, unbeknownst to me back when I was looking to book a gig in Fresno I happened to send out an email to Swiggs only to find out later that we already knew the owners.  We’d met years before at a friend’s wedding, and we were happy to reunite at the show. 

Swiggs is a very multi-tiered space.  It is indeed a sports bar, however it’s two different floors with a big central area where the music is often held, and appendages reaching around and out the door where folks can play corn hole or a game of pool and still enjoy live music.  Owners Gina and her husband Michael have developed a loyal clientele and folks gathered around to hear something different and enjoy a few brews.  It’s always fun meeting up again with people from your past, but even more fun when you get a chance to share your music with them in the process. 

:::Los Angeles, CA/West Hollywood:::
We have played in the quite the gamut and varied array of venues and spaces, but Genghis Cohen probably ranks right up there as one of the most interesting.  This intimate, dimly lit, red lanterned, church pewed, black painted walled venue is set up specifically as a listening room.  The catch or rather the interesting asset, would be that it’s also attached to a gourmet Asian restaurant. 

While we didn’t have a chance to eat any of the delicacies they had to offer, we did enjoy the vibe and were happy to share the stage with local musician Dani Poppitt.  Dani’s vocal driven performance reminded me of what it was to be young and in your budding years loving life and loving music.  We were also elated to see many of our old friends in the audience, and enjoyed an evening of catching up after the show. 

One thing you cannot deny about LA is the weather is almost always perfect, and it didn’t disappoint this time through.  I love LA; having grown up originally in small town Iowa it’s what you might call a bit of contrast to cornfields and small town mentality.  It’s always a fun place to visit and catch up with old friends who have moved out from Nashville and Iowa and make new friends along the way. 

::San Clemente, CA:::
San Clemente is yet another beautiful beach town, about midpoint between LA and San Diego, and the farthest south we made it in Cali this time through.  Cie and I have been a couple for more than twelve years, and we think it to be most romantic that we spent our Valentine’s Day making music together.  Our venue in San Clemente, Beach Fire, was the perfect place for any couple to come and enjoy a California Valentine’s Day.  Complete with a covered patio bringing in the beautiful night air, the bar was filled with couples out celebrating, and the occasional group or individual singles crowd grabbing a drink hoping to forget exactly what holiday it was. 

Beach Fire has an eclectic décor and a very artsy feel.  It’s the perfect ambience to share and play music.  We got the vibe that we were a welcome change to some of the usual musical offerings (cover bands and reggae), and many (including the on duty manager) were asking when we’d be returning.  We also enjoyed a tasty meal of spicy fish tacos and a fish sandy with sweet potato fries.  It was a lovely dinner for two and a great way to cap off our Valentine’s evening.  We can’t wait to make our way back to San Clemente! 

::Venice Beach, CA:::
When it comes to Venice Beach, we were at our Witzend!  ;-) Okay, so that was the name of the venue, and a cool one at that.  Witzend is a true listening room complete with grand piano, full sound, dinner seating, tiered almost bleacher like seating, a full bar, and a great vibe.  We were scheduled to play a set during their “20 Minute Tuesdays” show so we were also able to enjoy the music of many other musicians and bands throughout the night.

We enjoyed the company of some of our LA/California friends and family that came out to see us play, and really enjoyed playing in the space.  The acoustics were great and the crowd was there to really listen to live music.  We also particularly enjoyed the music of a Sardinian guitarist on tour in the US with an interesting blend of Claissical, Folk, and Percussive stylings named Roberto Diana.  It’s always such a great feeling to share the stage with another musician that truly inspires you. 

::Flagstaff, AZ:::
I can remember as far back as the summer when I was working on scheduling our winter shows and everyone kept telling me that we were out of our minds to play in the Pacific Northwest in the winter and then spend time in Flagstaff again in February.  Everyone kept telling me that I was crazy to route us into the snow and freezing cold of winter when we could spend more time down South.  I must say, that I made the right choice.  This winter has been crazy, everywhere except where we’ve been. 

Routing down to Flagstaff again on this leg of the tour, we were sure to find below zero temps and buckets of snow, alas Mother Nature has thrown a curve ball yet again and Flagstaff was snow free and rather Spring like in nature.  Unfortunately, that also meant that this little ski town was also free of the visitors that it typically sees coming through this time of year, so our gig in Flagstaff back at Mia’s Lounge was a bit sparse.  What crowd we did enjoy at Mia’s was receptive and the bartenders and sound guy were all great.  We also got some karma points and enjoyed the company of another new to the area musician who asked to join our bill and open up for us last minute, which we were happy to oblige after catching a few of his tunes at the nearby coffee shop.  Low-key evening in a great town with great locals; don’t worry Flagstaff, we’ll be back!

::Boulder City, NV:::
Did you know that Boulder City is the home of the Hoover Dam?  No?  Well we Hoovers didn’t know either.  Whoops, lol.  I will say we knew it was close by, but we had no idea that we’d be driving in just parallel to the dam and just an exit off of the pedestrian bridge overlooking the dam.  So yeah, we had to stop.  This thing is seriously monstrously big, and scary.  I’m not a big fan of things you can fall off of if you are clumsy and fall to your death at that.  Probably not very possible to fall off of it with the railing and all, but nevertheless, there’s a chance.

I will say it was a mighty and beautiful sight, and between the large lake and the dam Boulder City already had it going on, but the town itself is also adorable.  It’s definitely more of a locals destination than a tourist town, and the locals have their pick of fun shops, cafes, and a few good bars, including our venue for the night: The Dillinger Food and Drinkery. Obviously John Dillinger themed, we opened up the rifle-handled doors to a modern made rustic bar and restaurant. 

Locals lined the bar and the surrounding tables as well as the open air covered patio outside and enjoyed sipping on a brew or a good whiskey while devouring one of the delicious burgers that The Dillinger had to offer.  The corner music area complete with PA and chords was just the right size for our little duo.  And after making friends with some of the locals before our show, we enjoyed sharing our music and our stories with everyone that came in.  Very cool place. 

::Hot Lava Springs, ID:::
Well, after a few days of R&R with family and friends in Park City, Utah, we made our way up to Idaho to the Portneuf Grille and Lounge at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn.  The Inn itself was full of history overlooking the river and having catered to president or two in its heyday.  The hot springs and grille were both located in its underbelly and housed the best parts of the place.  It was apparent that the hot springs rooms were being worked on, but we still enjoyed a little dip. 

The Portneuf Grille and Lounge were a quaint gathering place for locals and tourists to enjoy an excellent meal and a glass of champagne.  It seemed to be couples night with tables filled with happy duos and the two of us entertaining the lot.  We swapped stories with visitors from all walks of life and different parts of the country while sharing our music throughout the evening.  Afterwards we settled into one of the Inn’s rooms for the night and enjoyed a light breakfast in the morning.  I can only imagine how this place must have stood out in its heyday with all of the modern amenities and classic charm of an old mansion. 

::Idaho Falls, ID:::
Just a bit down the road we made a return trip to Vino Rosso in Idaho Falls.  We already knew that this was a local late night hot spot, but we were even more pleased to make lasting friends out of the crowd this time through.  These are good people.  We truly enjoyed sharing our music with folks up and dancing and truly responding and getting into the music.  And the beer and wine selection are not to be forgotten as well…. impressive to say the least.  Thanks again Idaho Falls and Vino Rosso!



Time to Expand…Seeking Bass Player

Greetings from Park City, Utah!

We’ve been on the road for over 20 months now. We’ve seen awe inspiring things, met amazing people, and have had the pleasure to share our music throughout the country.It is with much excitement that we have made the decision to expand our co
ntinued journey to a new You Knew Me When member. Obviously, our lifestyle is not for everyone…this has taken an immense amount of dedication, sacrifice, and focus…but we believe there is someone out there who is meant to be part of our YKMW family. Thus, we have decided to open up this possibility to everyone we have met along the way. Are YOU that person? Do you KNOW someone who we should talk to? Here’s what we’re looking for:
    • A bass player with percussive sensibilities…we will explain more on that
    • Someone who can sing / harmonize would be a bonus
    • Someone who very much is open to LIVING on the road. We played over 200 shows last year all across the country, and if you take a look at our current tour schedule we’re not taking a break anytime soon.
    • Someone who is comfortable in tight quaters. While we have been graced with many friends and family members who have taken us in on the road, a lot of the time we live in a van (albeit a nice van)…yes, sometimes “down by the river”.
    • This is not a money making endeavor…it is based on a passion and love of music first and foremost. We’ll of course give more details to those who reach out to us. 
    • Someone who is into the “band” mentality vs. just being a hired gun
    • Naturally, an overall good person…duh. 

We are planning on recording our second studio album later this year. Of course, the new YKMW member will play an integral role in this process, as well as the future of You Knew Me When. 

By opening this opportunity up to the masses we hope that the right person will emerge. Let us say on the forefront that we are in NO RUSH to find this person. We are planning on taking our time with this, talking with a lot of people, and really letting this opportunity spread and be open for discussion. 

If you or anyone you know might be interested, please get in touch with us or share this info. Tell us about yourself, your background, experience, your thoughts on our music and its progression, etc…Come see us at a show. Ask us questions. CONNECT WITH US AT: 

Our sincere thanks for everyone’s continued support. Check out the list below for our upcoming shows, and as always visit for the full list. 

Love and music,
Cie & Karisa

January 2014 ~ WA, OR, CA

:::Mukilteo, WA:::
It’s always fun going back to a venue that we’ve enjoyed playing at in the past, especially when the owners are as great as Marvella McCammond & George Black, owners of The Scotsman Bistro.  These two are some of our favorite small business owners. They have poured their hearts and souls into everything wine, food, and scotch and it shows. The little bistro attracts a wide variety of music appreciators, and I’d like to think that folks with an elevated palate for food and beverage tend to also have an elevated taste in music. 

George, a former Scot himself, brings an additionally amusing element with his fantastic accent.  Love truly exudes off of this couple and into everything they do.  Sweet spot. Sweet people.  Sweet night of music making. 

:::White Salmon, WA:::
Let me begin by saying that the drive from the Seattle area to White Salmon is absolutely breath taking.  The trip took us from eagles soaring overhead to beautiful mountain ridge views and cinematic waterfalls, finally ending in a terrifying trip across what seemed like the world’s longest, most rickety, death defying sliver of a two lane bridge that I could ever imagine and drove over with white knuckles and sweaty palms. 

After passing over the bridge I literally had to pull over with only a mile left to go before reaching the venue because I was shaken to my core and near paralyzed from the tension in every part of my body. Cie took the last leg behind the wheel up a steep skinny one lane road to White Salmon where our venue for the evening laid in waiting, Everybody’s Brewing

Located at the top of the hill, the little town was definitely a local haven of sorts.  Everyone seemed to know everyone and the beer and the bar area carried with it a level of familiarity for those of us just passing through.  They also have a nice little stage in the front corner with a modest sound system.  Not to forget their great beer and eclectic menu.  I enjoyed a double IPA (my palate is growing daily) and a curry sweet potato dish.  Man I love the Pacific North-West!

:::Forest Grove, OR:::
1910 Main in Forest Grove, Oregon is beyond a doubt the ritziest establishment in town.  With an extensive menu including items such as homemade Parmesan crusted tater tots (our fave), beet salad, and delicately seasoned fish filets we were very happy to have stumbled upon this lovely venue. 

The wine menu definitely did not disappoint, and we found it kind of fun that they had their house wines on tap alongside local craft brews.  The bartender and staff treated us well, and the folks in the dining area truly showed their appreciation for original music.  Main Street never tasted, looked, or sounded quite as good as it does at 1910 Main. 

:::Carlton, OR:::
Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road in wine country USA, Carlton, Oregon you will find The Horse Radish.  The venue, which focuses on the wines and brews produced in and around Oregon, as well as independent local and touring music, was THE evening destination in Carlton.  Almost every storefront in town was based upon wine, wine accessories, or variations on the use of a grape (a jam store to be exact), so The Horse Radish combined all of the favorite local flavors into one evening retreat. 

The Horse Radish hosts live music every week.  Folks know to expect it and enjoy it.  In a very small town like Carlton, it’s rare to find such a gem.  

:::Portland, OR:::
McMennamins is a name more Pacific North-Westerners are very familiar with.  We came to hear of their vast empire of 60+ venues lining the Pacific North-West on our last visit to Portland, all of which came highly recommended by our friends and fans in the area.  We were blessed to land a gig at McMennamin’s historic hotel and saloon, The White Eagle

The White Eagle’s high ceilings and beautiful carved wooden bar and overall ambience create a setting begging to host live entertainment.  With an array of interesting décor including flamed sconces, period architecture and tiling, and eclectic artwork (not to leave out the fortune teller signage), The White Eagle is a feast for the eyes and the ears. 

They host live music regularly and are home to perfectly sized and executed back corner stage and sound system.  They run a professional show here and folks come in expecting good music.  We had a great group of friends and fans out for the evening and enjoyed the music of the local opener, Short Fiction, as well.   If you ever get the opportunity to play a Mcmennamin’s gig, do it.  We hope to play another one soon!

:::Portland, OR:::
The Gemini Lounge in Portland is a very different space than that of the McMennamin’s establishment.  A sexy lounge atmosphere is lusciously arranged from the erotic mural of two beautiful feminine figures behind the stage to the hanging glass lanterns and brightly painted walls. 

The cocktails are handcrafted masterpieces and the zodiac sign centered slider sandwiches and homemade chips were delish.  We had a nice sized midweek crowd of new friends and old.  And all enjoyed an intoxicating evening of music, food, and libations.  We love Portland!

:::Snoqualmie, WA:::
While we typically try to plan shows in a route that is aligned with perfect planning, distance, and timing, sometimes the stars just don’t quite align.  Alas, we headed back up to Snoqualmie for a gig at The Black Dog.  The Black Dog is an eclectic café and listening room complete with stage and sound guy.  They have an ever-changing dinner menu, and the cuisine of the evening was centered on tacos of all kind.  I enjoyed a couple of veggie tacos while Cie devoured the steak and cheese tacos smothered in cream. 

Locals love this spot, and so did we.  It’s an intimate venue with a crowd that you will come to know quickly and will eagerly come to know you and your music.  The sound guy, a fellow musician, has a great ear and will do your music justice.  While your playing for tips, food, and beverage here, you’re also going to enjoy a great evening and the local crowd rewards good music well. 

:::Kent Station, WA:::
Reds Wine Bar & Craft Beers is located in the new development in Kent, Washington, Kent Station.  Located in an upscale outdoor walking mall of sorts, Reds Wine Bar & Craft Beers adds an element of class and taste.  With a nice sized central bar, electric fireplace, chaise lounges and variety of surrounding tables, the visiting patron has their pick of the various comforts. 

While some relished a refreshing craft brew, others indulged in their pick of an impressive wine list, including a wine sampler that sure seemed to include some generous pours. Up front and center, we enjoyed sharing our music with folks out for a night on the town!

:::Vancouver, WA:::
Bucket list; play at the historic Grant House restaurant on officers’ row in Vancouver, Washington. Check! No seriously. This place is oozing history. It’s the oldest building on officers’ row and it still carries the same charm one might expect of a bar/restaurant that some of our nation’s former heroes would have frequented while throwing back a martini and smoking a cigar.  It’s cozy. 

Locals and travelers alike will find themselves charmed by the owner, the establishment, and everything it has to offer.  The owner, a native Tennessean knows and appreciates live music, having toured alongside country artist Eric Church for years.  Regulars lounged in cozy tables nestled in what felt like a gentleman’s smoking room or den from back in the day, and we were pleased to meet music appreciators from the area that booked us for an upcoming gig at an art’s center on the shore.  Love it and love them!

:::Brookings, OR:::
Making our way down the Pacific North-West, we headed back down to Oregon again (this time to southern Oregon) so that we could make our way down to Cali. Brookings is a little costal town right on the edge of where the Giant Redwoods begin to tower in all of their majesty.  Our venue for the evening, The Vista Pub, was excited to find that we’d been featured in the local paper, and we had a great crowd gathered. 

It’s a snug little spot with an itty bitty stage (just perfect for a soloist or a duo) a good sized bar (which takes up the majority of the front room), and some table seating.  They have a nice list of local and or craft brews on tap or in bottle form.  And they make a heck of a crab cake slider.  We made fast friends with some guys at the bar and had a really fun evening!  It’s always a good sign when folks are grabbing up merch and CD’s, and we leave with a nice buzz at the end of the evening. :) Thanks Brookings,  and thanks to the Vista Pub!

:::Ashland, OR:::
A bit further inland, yet still on the far south end of Oregon lies Ashland.  Ashland has a pretty cool little artsy downtown, and folks come from far and wide to enjoy it.  Always a town favorite, the local brewery was our venue for the evening. 

Caldera Brewing Taphouse is on the underside of a canal side building just off the main square of the downtown area. It boasts a good-sized patio for the smokers and those enjoying the beautiful day, and has a nice corner stage in the interior.  Serving up a multitude of different brews including an alcoholic ginger beer (which we both enjoyed), they have the makings of a great spot. 

Tables display decoupage collages of various concert memorabilia from over the years, and we had fun with friends debating whether or not the owner had actually been to all of the shows.   They definitely made us feel at home, and made the extra effort to make us feel taken care of.  If you are ever in Ashland, stop in for a brew and hopefully some live music as well.

:::South Lake Tahoe, CA:::
We made it to sunny California, just in time for one of the biggest droughts in the state’s history.  South Lake Tahoe, our city for our first night in Cali and frequent skier’s paradise was desperately hurting for some snow, but that didn’t keep folks from coming out to enjoy a bit of après ski entertainment. 

South Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful!  At the top of a gorgeous mountain ridge, surrounded by ski slopes, and beautiful lake central to downtown, and more mountains all around, this place takes atmosphere to a whole new level.  Our venue for the early evening show, The Himmel Haus is a historic après ski landmark for folks familiar with South Lake Tahoe.  Located at the base of the slopes, it’s a prime spot for people coming in for a bev and a bite after a fun day of skiing.  As you might pick up from the name, it’s a German chalet of sorts with some delicious takes on traditional German food, two different stages and multitiered seating throughout. 

With music slated throughout the evening, we opened up the night of music with an après ski set on the smaller stage adjacent to the main bar and seating area.  The stage was seemingly carved out of a cozy little cubby with an almost window box like vibe for audience and performers alike.  Complete with full sound set up and a great sound guy, The Himmel Haus knows how to put on a great show! 

We stuck around a bit later for some more great music and quite the party, but found ourselves needing to duck out a bit early to catch some quick shut-eye before our morning drive and Sunday afternoon gig near San Fran.  Unfortunately, we have to keep our candles trimmed and don’t have quite the stamina to burn them entirely down at both ends. But we had a great time nonetheless!  We hope to play at The Himmel Haus again on our next visit to this gorgeous vacationer’s paradise. 

:::Pacifica, CA:::
After our morning drive, we were delighted to catch glimpses of the water as we got into the Bay area.  Pacifica, just a short drive from San Fran is your quintessential surf town. It is beautiful!  And our venue for the afternoon, The Surf Spot pulls out all the stops.

With an elevated outdoor stage overlooking a good-sized beer garden of picnic tables, various dining ensembles, a huge fire pit, and multilayered spaces for hanging out in the sun, drinking, eating or playing sand volleyball on a gorgeous day, they know how to create an awesome atmosphere.  All the beautiful people of the area were in from a bit of a chilly surf at the beach and ready to have a great afternoon.  We had a fantastic show, and made some new life long friends.  We love the Surf Spot!

:::San Francisco, CA:::
Who doesn’t love San Francisco?  It wasn’t our first time to the Bay Area, and definitely won’t be our last, but we’d done the tourist thing on our last visit, so we had plans to play a show, take a walk, and call it a day.  After a lovely walk at a park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, we found ourselves at our venue for the evening, Osteria

Local musician and promoter, KC Turner puts on a regular Monday night show at Osteria called Acoustic Bistro, and we were happy to be included on the bill.  Local and touring artists are welcomed with a lovely space to present intimate and acoustic sets.   We enjoyed sharing our music and listening to some of the local flavor.  It’s always fun to play in writers in the round showcase, as every artist/group is truly unique in their own right, and KC puts on a good show.  If you are ever in the San Francisco area on a Monday, be sure to check it out.  KC has a discerning ear and you won’t be disappointed! 

:::Stanford, CA:::
Just down the road is nearby Stanford University.  We were excited to return to CoHo, the University café/coffee shop.   Stanford has a beautiful campus, and CoHo is a great space.  It comes complete with stage, sound, and a grand piano, and it’s always a great space for musicians to showcase their talent. 

We enjoyed a good mid-week crowd of students, and made some new fans. We tend to reminisce on our own university experience at Belmont when we come here.  How different things may have turned out had we not met so many years back in school… Thanks Belmont!  And thank you Stanford for another fun show!

:::Roseville, CA:::
Roseville, California is just outside of Sacramento, and we found it interesting to find that there seemed to be a lot of surf themed bars and restaurants in the area as it’s a bit inland from it all.  That said, we were booked to play at Ginger’s Restaurant for the evening.  Ginger’s is a fun tiki bar themed spot, which regularly hosts live music.

The owner, Harold was very gracious and excited to host new music in the restaurant.  And although it was a pretty tame mid-week crowd, they were all very into the music and appreciative of what they heard.  The restaurant also serves breakfast all day (my favorite meal), so after the show I devoured the crab cake benedict. Delish! Thanks Ginger’s!

:::Sonoma, CA:::
When you think of Sonoma, you think of wine.  However, our venue was far from what you’d expect, no not another wine bar; how ‘bout an Irish Pub?  Murphy’s Irish Pub in Sonoma is an awesome local bar!  Just off the main square between buildings in what almost serves as a little hideaway, Murphy’s has a great outdoor patio for those out to enjoy the beautiful evening.  They also have the perfect YKMW sized stage. 

After a nice write-up in the local paper, people were excited.  We had a full room of music supporters and listeners, and we had an awesome night! This place is special, and we hope to be back very soon!  I really must say, this was one of our favorite shows to play yet!  And maybe next time we’ll do a bit of wine tasting in the area as well.


December 2013 ~ MO, CO, UT, ID, MT, WA

:::Defiance, MO:::
While Defiance seems like it would be an abrasive place, it was actually a very beautiful countryside.  As we closed in on our venue for the evening, Chandler Hill Vineyards, our eyes were opened to what a magnificent countryside that Missouri has to offer.   Chandler Hill itself sits a top a large hill, as implied by the name, and boasts a long dining hall area, reminiscent of the old cotton mill in Lebanon, TN where we were married more than five years ago.  With high ceilings and exposed wood beams, it’s really a beautiful site, along with a large porch overlooking the hills. 

The weather was just on the brink of too cold and just right, and as the sun was near setting they set us up on the far end of the space by the rather large fireplace.   As folks strolled in for a Sunday afternoon meal, or a bottle of vino, we added a bit of ambience for a relaxed winter afternoon.  My parents who were en route back to Iowa also surprised us by making a quick stop at the vineyard for a glass of vino and a bit of listening time near the end of our last set.  So we enjoyed a big hug and some chitchat after the show.  It’s definitely a great place to gather with family and friends and enjoy a relaxing afternoon, only made better by their regular offering of live music. 

:::Blue Springs, MO:::
Well, I will say that our family pretty well spans the states, and seems to be growing with regularity.  Blue Springs is home to some of my dear cousins, just outside of Kansas City, in addition to my kindred Auntie and Uncle.  We enjoyed catching up with family and playing at a relatively new downtown family-run bar, Brewer’s Sports Bar & Grill.  Their booking guy, TK was very helpful from the moment we arrived.  Greeting us and offering up details on what to expect.  And the owner came out of the kitchen to introduce himself. 

The place has a very family oriented feel with walls of pictures of local athletes and clubs, making it very community centered.  We had a great crowd of friends, family, and locals, and enjoyed a fun night.  Brewers is a great little gem in the heart of downtown Blue Springs!

:::Berthoud, CO:::
Moving out of Missouri and back to Colorado after the horrendously long, flat and mundane east to west trek through Kansas, we found ourselves back in Boulder for an evening with friends.  We love, and I stress LOVE, Boulder.  And our growing group of friends there only adds to its draw. 

We played party bus the next night and drove a couple of friends with us from Boulder to one of our favorite local microbreweries just a stones throw away in Berthoud, Colorado, City Star Brewing.  Having played there before, we knew just what to expect: Great beer, Great people, and Great music.  This brewery is doing everything right and we were just happy to make another stop at one of our favorites. 

:::Eagle, CO:::
Speaking of favorites, just a few hours down the road we found ourselves back at Bonfire Brewing.  After a big article in Sneak Peak Vail, we were greeted by a large crowd of beer and music enthusiasts.  Things got rowdy.  Nestled just outside of the Vail in the small town of Eagle, Colorado, Bonfire seems to be becoming a more and more widely known hidden diamond of sorts in an otherwise pretty quiet town. 

They have a huge selection of craft brews, and we have yet to try one we don’t thoroughly enjoy.  I actually really like the gluten free beer they have on tap, which my sister Danielle (Celiac’s), would definitely appreciate.  We love this spot!

:::Paonia, CO:::
We’d been hearing stories about Paonia for what seemed like forever now.  How great it was.  How the people there loved live music.  How it was the quintessential Colorado hippie town.   And let me just say, it was all that and more. 

Our venue for the evening, and clearly Paonia’s favorite watering hole was Revolution Brewing.  One more stop on the Colorado beer tour, no complaints here. ;-) When I say this is a small spot, I mean that we shared the stage with the flanking restrooms.  Yet, this created a living room or basement bar sort of feel to it, only adding to the fun and intimacy of the night.  Paonia’s residents are eclectic and awesome.  The thing we love about this small town brewery is that everyone has nickname, a story, and a warm welcome to share.  We thoroughly enjoyed sharing our music with them and have already scheduled a return performance in the spring. 

:::Carbondale, CO:::
After an early morning drive from Paonia to Carbondale, we grabbed a cup of joe and headed over to the local radio station for an interview and on-air performance.  With my voice not quite warmed up and the cobwebs still clearing from our foggy brains, we shared our story with local listeners and play a couple of our favorite originals. 

We were happy to encounter more than one table of people at our venue that evening that had come in to hear us play at Beer Works after hearing us that morning on the radio, so we must have sounded better than we felt. ;-) We are definitely always our worst critics.   Carbondale Beer Works has a wide selection of brews, including a few of their own, and some yummy and interesting bar food.  I felt a bit guilty about the elk that had to go to make my chili, but mmmmmm it was tasty.

The side stage and sound system were just right for the space, and we were happy to grace the stage after hearing such good things about the venue from the many locals that had referred us after hearing us at other establishments in the area.  We hope to return to Beer Works again soon!

:::Park City, UT:::
If you’ve never been to Park City, Utah before, do yourself a favor and go.  It doesn’t matter what time of year you go there it is always beautiful.  With mountains in and around Park City you have your pick of outdoor activities to enjoy, and the town is adorable.  There’s a multitude of fun little boutiques for the window-shopper in the group, and a vast array of pubs and restaurants for the foodie/drinker. 

Being a bit of a foodie myself, I particularly enjoyed playing back at our favorite little Park City venue, The Silver Star Café.  The chef makes a bass filet that’s to die for, and everything is delicately seasoned.  I don’t think you could go wrong with a single dish on the menu.  The cozy indoor ambience makes for a warm and inviting setting for music sharing and listening.  We love this place! 

:::Idaho Falls, ID:::
While Idaho Falls was certainly never on our list of must stops when we started the tour, it’s definitely become a place we love to visit.  It’s also mid-way between Park City and Bozeman, two of our faves, so we love that little added bonus.

Vino Rosso, local wine bar hotspot in town boasts a wide selection of wines and craft brews.  They also host live music regularly, so folks know to come in for the weekend shows.  Each time we play there they have something new on tap to enjoy. 

And, on a side note, we finally gave the local pancake house a shot on our way out of town.  And, it was oh so good.  We are looking forward to making our way back to Idaho Falls again soon!

:::Norris, MT:::
Music and hot springs?!  Yes please!  The Norris Hot Springs in Norris, Montana will seriously blow your mind, especially for an evening dip.  They take being green to the extreme.  Shower free, no electricity (except in the very small, local/sustainable kitchen and in the stage area of course), natural wood benches in the soaking pool, and out in the middle of nowhere.  This spot is cool.

It was a frigid day, but when you’re soaking in a hot springs, you don’t really care.  The Norris Hot Springs also has a selection of local beers and wines to choose from.  So dippers are sure to enjoy a relaxing time.

The stage is the real gem here, however.  Enclosed in an almost igloo like dome, completely surrounded by windows, pumping the music out to soakers through outdoor speakers, as musicians we were in our own little bubble. ;-) This definitely created a unique and lasting memory for us, and our friends that came out had nothing but good things to say about the place.  Feeling cold, or just need to relax?? Go to Montana, and go to The Norris Hot Springs.  Better yet, go on a weekend and enjoy some late night music while you dip! 

:::Bozeman, MT:::
If you haven’t been to Bozeman before, you probably have no idea how cool this place is.  Just a short drive from the mountains, and filled with artsy and interesting people of all ages, this town has a lot to offer.  The downtown is full of cutsie, perfect for the window-shopper in all of us.  And it has a vast array of cafes, restaurants, and bars to indulge even the most refined of tasters. 

We also had a great time visiting with friends in the area from as far back as childhood, Cie’s old middle school sweetheart, and of course our friends over at Gibson, we’ve got a good group of folks in Bozeman.  Staying with some of our faves, we even had a chance to enjoy a bit of outdoor winter sporting in the form of cross-country skiing.  Cie seemed to think that I’d be an expert at this, due to the fact that I’d spent a few PE classes in high school and a couple of runs in girl scouts learning the sport, but he was trying to get me to climb a mountain.  Not gonna happen!  It’s called cross-COUNTRY skiing for a reason, no mountains!  I’m from Iowa buddy!

Before I get to the tasty part, I would be remiss to leave out our visit to Gibson Acoustic.  Headquartered smack dab in little ol’ Bozeman, Montana, Gibson Acoustic puts out some of the most beautifully crafted musical specimens you could ever put your fingers on.  Oh, and did I mention that we got the VIP tour?  No big deal… ;-) Pretty amazing stuff!

After our visit to Gibson Acoustic, we headed over to our venue for the evening, 406 Brewing.  Not knowing what to expect on a Wednesday evening, we were happy to find the place hopping (pun intended) and many of our friends and colleagues out to enjoy the show.  406 Brewing has a vast array of delicious brews, so it was hard to choose just a couple (Montana state law).  The folks out enjoying their brews definitely enjoy their music as well.  Good beer, good people, good music, good times!!

:::Hamilton, MT:::
Just a few hours down the road we continued the tour de beer at Bitter Root Brewing.  Located in what has the outward appearance of a grain elevator gone wild this place has character from the moment you walk in.  With the bar front and center as you open the door, you are greeted by regulars and a long list of craft brews.  Folks come from all over the state and beyond to enjoy a brew at Bitter Root.

They also do their live music justice by hosting acts on a small central stage, which is perfectly placed for folks dining and drinking up in their balcony area or hanging down by the bar.  We had enjoyed a bit of local press, so there was a bit of a buzz going about our music (always a good sign).  From start to finish, this was a great night.  You might think Hamilton, MT?  Where the heck is that?  And all I could say to that was, figure it out, because Bitter Root Brewing is putting a whole new meaning to doing it right. 

:::Snoqualmie, WA:::
Let me first make the point that Snoqualmie has its very own Polar Express, or at least that’s what I’ve come to call it.  They have an old commuter train that gives riders a throwback trip and onlookers a sense of nostalgia.  I think I hear bells. 

It’s also home to another great brewery, Snoqualmie Brewery.  With Cie’s preggo sister and brother-in-law just a short drive away in Seattle, and Cie’s folks in town for the holidays, we had some friendly faces in the crowd.  We also had a couple of family friends make the trip.  It had been eons since Cie’s sister had seen us play, so it was fun to show her what we’d been up to. 

They host their live music up on the top floor overlooking the whole brewery.  With a completely ludicrous fear of heights, it made me a bit nervous playing next to the railed off balcony, but I just need to get over that.  The brews were comforting and tasty on a cold rainy evening, and locals, family and friends showed their support for our original tunes. If you are looking for a craft brew close to Seattle, be sure to check out Snoqualmie Brewery!

:::Seattle, WA:::
Seattle is big city. Located right on the Sound, it’s surrounded by huge barges importing and exporting goods and supporting global commerce.  Yes, it rains a lot.  But between the rain showers, the views are to die for, especially on a clear December night.  Who needs a Christmas tree when you can see the city lights? 

This was not our first trip to Seattle, but we were seeing it through new eyes, specifically the eyes of our family.  Cie’s sister and her husband are recent Seattlites (I may have made this word up, but I like it) and also very pregnant. We’d all agreed on spending a week enjoying family time in Seattle over the holidays.  With Cie’s parents in town, they’d found us a great house to rent via Air B&B right on the Sound complete with great views, a faux Christmas tree to trim, a pool table, and a grand piano.  No complaints here!

I can’t even begin to count the number of delicious meals we enjoyed in Seattle, including my first dim sum.  And Cie’s father is a big cook, so we always enjoy his cooking. However, I’d have to say that Cie was particularly partial to his sister’s cookies.  But hey, that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for right?  Or something like that…

Having visited Seattle previously, we didn’t do a lot of site seeing on this trip, but spent more time getting some much needed R&R.  Cie tends to require this a lot more than I do.  In fact, I think he would have fallen apart had it not been for those few days off.  Sometimes you just need a break. 

:::Bothell, WA:::
Bothell, what some would call a suburb of Seattle is a cute little town away from all of the hustle and bustle of the city.  We were schedule to play at Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar in Bothell, a little bistro specializing in exquisitely cooked seasonal meals and local Washington boutique wines.  Owned by a lovely local couple, these two put their heart and soul into their business. 

The wife, Lisa may not be a certified sommelier, but she goes to great lengths to learn about every wine that they have to offer at Tandem.  She also takes great pride in the fact that all of their wines our from small Washington vineyards and cannot be purchased at any of the big box stores.  You have to respect that.

Her husband, Brad is the chef extraordinaire.  Their small open kitchen area allows patrons to devour every last scent that emanates from the dishes that he puts out.  From lobster tail to roasted duck, every last bite that he puts out is something to savor.   And boy did we!

The bistro definitely ranks right up there as one of the most intimate settings we’ve played in.  We played nearly completely unplugged, yet filled the space with our music.  With return listeners on our second evening at Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar, it was clear that the people of Bothell truly appreciate live original music. 

:::Seattle, WA:::
Back to Seattle… Blue Moon Seattle is one of the most iconic dive bar/venues in Seattle.  It exudes the stuff of legendary local and touring original music from its very core.  It’s also a great place to enjoy a basket of peanuts and share a pitcher of Washington beer.

It has a very similar vibe to The Red Line Tap in Chicago with a good group of local regulars and music appreciators, along with a perfectly sized side stage and seating.  With a great sound guy, this place is the perfect stop for a touring band or musician.  Props to Blue Moon Seattle for putting on a good show!

:::Twisp, WA:::
I just love the name of this Northern Washington town, Twisp.  The little town is located along the Twisp River, which was of course frozen over upon our arrival.  We were scheduled to play at Twisp River Pub.  Just off the main drag, which looks like something out of an old western film, Twisp River Pub is clearly the newer and favored kid on the block.

The Pub puts out it’s own original brews, including a couple of excellent hard ciders which hit the spot for me.  In fact, jumping ahead a bit, the morning after we played they were crushing apples for a new batch.  Washington definitely has an array of different apples to choose from!

But I digress; Twisp River Pub has a nice sized stage for a 2-4-piece band and a pretty sweet old upright piano adjacent to the stage.  They also have their own PA, which is always appreciated, and the owner runs the sound.  Folks know to expect live music and were pleased to hear something a bit different from a land far far away. J There was also a fun blast from 90’s music past in the crowd, guitarist from Chumbawumba who happens to live in Twisp and DJ at the local radio station.  He stuck around for the show and picked up a CD, which he graciously played on air later in the week.  Thanks bud!

:::Winthrop, WA:::
What better way to ring in the New Year than at one of the top 100 Hotels in the world??  We were scheduled to play at the Sun Mountain Lodge/Wolf Creek Bar & Grill for New Years and although they were yearning for a bit more snow, we were excited to land a gig at this Washington cross-country skiing oasis. 

Overlooking a lovely lake near the base of the mountain, the resort is the perfect place to escape to the outdoors.  We enjoyed a walk on the frozen lake (Cie was a bit nervous about the whole ordeal), and were blessed to be put up in the resort apartment for the evening. 

The lodge itself is clearly the place where locals and Washingtonians travel to get away from it all.  It has all the amenities and views for days.  The Bar & Grill was definitely the upper echelon of your standard bar and grill where we were treated to a shrimp louie salad and a goat cheese and artichoke pesto pizzette.  Live music was a special treat for folks there celebrating, and a fun way to ring in the New Year!


November 2013 ~ KY, OH, NC, VA, TN, MO

:::Lexington, KY:::

When I think of Lexington, Kentucky, I really never think of Ohio being close by.  Until now that is.  It just seems like it’s such a different place with it’s horseracing, cowboys, and all of that.  However, Kentucky is just a hop skip and a jump away from Midwest farmland, and really isn’t very different, beyond the sweet southern accents that many of it’s inhabitants display.  There’s a lot of open land and farming in Kentucky, just like it’s nearby surrounding states. 

That said, with this being our first time stopping in Lexington, we were happy to land a gig at Paulie’s Toasted Barrel.  It has a very music centered vibe with a large central stage, floorspace and balcony.  Although it was a rather slow night, being that it was the Wednesday before Halloween, and they were prepping for the big party the next day, we had a receptive crowd and a few listeners threw on their dancing shoes for the evening, so it was fun nonetheless.  We also had a sampling of the local bourbon barrel beer which we both enjoyed.  Gotta love Kentucky!  We definitely plan to hit up Paulie’s again in the future! 

:::Louisville, KY:::
Moving a little further down the Kentucky road to a the more familiar town of Louisville, we met up with an old friend who graciously housed Jack in her oversized yard for the couple of evenings we spent in Louisville. We enjoyed a very chill Halloween evening of movie watching, take-out, and red wine.  When you’re on the road full-time, sometimes the best way to spend a holiday is chillaxing at home. 

After a relaxing morning and a long walk in a nearby park, we were eager to get downtown to play our gig that evening.  We were scheduled to perform at Sluggerville’s Against the Grain Brewery, which as you may have guessed was attached to the baseball stadium.  It held all of the charm of a microbrewery, with a variety of unique brews and friendly bar backs.  I challenged my taste buds a bit and tried their campfire brew, which definitely left a smoky impression. 

They had us set up along the far wall of the brewery overlooking the restaurant/bar, and we enjoyed a laid back evening sharing our music with new friends, locals, and tourists alike.  They serve a good brew and have great taste in music, what more could you ask for in a brewery?

:::Columbus, OH:::
Well after a few days in Kentucky, we made our way back up to Ohio.  Sometimes routing doesn’t work out perfectly, but hey, we were close.  We drove about 4.5hrs to the show; let’s just say that things don’t always work out exactly as they are planned. 

We had booked the gig months back, corresponded with the booking lady on multiple occasions after that, and sent posters, the whole bit.  That said, sometimes people just lose track of time.  We had invited a few friends in the area to the pub to watch us play, they’d called for sitters, the whole bit.  And we’d done our part to promote.  That said, we got to the venue, and they’d totally forgotten that we were playing that evening. 

It took a bit of negotiating, but with friends waiting to hear us play, and the two of us having driven for 4.5hrs to be there, we played a short set to a very eager and intimate audience.  It was apparently couples night out, as we found later that everyone there to see us was indeed a couple and had indeed called in a sitter to come out for the evening.  The Claddagh was a cool little Irish pub with a lot of potential for fun, and hopefully the next time we play there, they’ll be ready for us!

:::Asheville, NC:::
After a few days off in Cie’s hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia we jumped back into Jack and headed down the road past beautiful mountainscapes and an amazing sunset to Asheville, North Carolina.  We’d been close before, but Black Mountain was the closest we’d been to this fabled music Mecca that we were oh so excited to finally embrace! Asheville has such a cool, laid back vibe in all of the right ways.  It’s definitely another place where we could see ourselves someday. 

Booked at a fairly young microbrewery for the evening, Hi-Wire Brewing, we were elated to be able to pull right up in front of the brewery to unload; sometimes load-in can be a royal pain, but these North Carolinians were more than happy to oblige.  We could tell we were going to like the place the moment we pulled up.  It carried an indoor-outdoor feel with open garage doors showcasing rustic rot iron railing and artistic metal décor.  

A brewery tour was in full swing as we arrived, and folks were eager to try a pint.  They also had half pints, which we thought were pretty cool, as it allowed us to sample more brews.  Asheville definitely made us feel right at home as we shared our music to a full room of relaxing beer lovers and music appreciators.  We’d be more than happy to risk walking the Hi-Wire again on a trip back sometime soon!

:::Black Mountain, NC:::
Black Mountain is a little mountain town only about thirty minutes away, which we were familiar with from a previous visit last year.  It’s so charming you’ll want to become a mountain man, grow a beard, and hang out at the bar with the locals for a month before moving on. 

We were scheduled to play at one of the local’s favorite bars, The Town Pump.  The Town Pump boasts a decent sound system and perfect stage set-up for our needs.  The owner was super chill and excited to have some musical variety walking in her door.  We had a fun time talking with folks at the bar intermittently between sets, and will definitely put The Town Pump on the map for one of our favorite Dives in America thus far.

:::Charlotte, NC:::
The Charlotte Art District is straight up cool.  It has an East Nashville vibe to it with its fair share of hipsters, good bars, microbreweries, and live music.  So naturally, we love it! We’d played at Birdsong Brewery before, so we knew basically what to expect, which is always nice.  They host live music regularly, which is typically a good thing, as people are expecting you as well.  And in this case, it’s a great thing.

Birdsong seems to be doing everything right.  The beer is excellent, the clientele is wrought with good people, and the space just feels good to play in.  Not to mention the bartenders are easy to work with and were excited to have us play. It’s always nice to have the staff as excited about what we are doing as we are.  And we had a good slew of folks out to see us that we knew from the Charlotte area.  Shows are always a good time when friends are in the crowd.  ;-) Birdsong has our vote for must stop microbreweries!

:::Eggleston, VA:::
Haven’t you heard of Eggleston, Virginia?!  My guess would be, probably not… It’s definitely off the beaten path.  However, The Palisades Restaurant has put it on the map! This place is off the chain with goodness.  Local and fresh ingredients make visitors want to devour everything on the menu, and their wine and beer selection got us excited to say the least. 

They also host live music regularly on a little stage in the front window.  We had friends and family in attendance and the place was packed to the gills!  So packed in fact that at one point the owner actually asked us to take a break early to try to clear out some of the listeners, because she said that people were enjoying the music so much they wouldn’t leave!  Gotta feel good about that problem!  Great spot + great food + great music = a winning combination!

:::Raleigh, NC:::
Well, as I’ve said before, sometimes routing doesn’t work out perfectly, but for a good show and good friends, we’ll travel.  Our friends in Raleigh had been urging us to play a return performance since our house show last December, and we were more than happy to oblige, and Cie’s mom was excited to play roadie for an evening and join us for the trip!

With the help of a mutual friend who had seen us play the previous December, we had set up an early set at Deep South The Bar in Raliegh.  It’s a great Dive-Bar/Venue just off the main area of downtown.  The sound was excellent, the owner was deeply rooted in music and the industry, and it was an overall good vibe for a fun early evening. 

We followed it up with some drinks and a late dinner with a group of friends downtown, and had a great evening.  Raleigh, we’ll be back!

:::Blacksburg, VA:::
With as many times as I’ve been to Blacksburg with Cie now, it definitely feels like a homecoming every time we visit.  Cie’s parents are great, and they provide a happy haven for their kiddos (and soon to be grandkiddo that Cie’s sister is currently bearing). :-) So of course, we love our visits!  We were schedule to play a couple of shows locally that week, so we settled in.  Cie’s dad was off on one of his Asian adventures (he travels extensively for his work), so Cie’s mom was keeping us company. 

Our first show was at Gillie’s, a favorite among locals and students (Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Tech).  Gillie’s is very veg friendly, which I love.  It has a varied and homey menu and feel to it.  We played in the front window to a crowd of friends, family, students, and local listeners.  It was a very sweet evening; and with Cie’s ties to Blacksburg, we were very happy to play our Gillie’s debut.  

Later in the week, we played at the Downtown Blacksburg Farmers’ Market, on college game day nonetheless.  For a mid-November market day it was fairly mild weather, so we were happy about that.  It had rained the night before, so I made sure to bring a couple of extra towels to wipe down the market benches. 

Blacksburg has a great little Farmers’ Market filled with yummy local and fresh foods and the wares of a variety of local artisans.  Music is a natural fit, and it felt like a perfect way to spend our Saturday afternoon.  We enjoyed playing for more friends and family as well as the slews of market goers and folks making their way to the big football game. Good times were had by all!

:::Johnson City, TN:::
We’ve sung about Johnson City many times in the well-known lyrics of “Wagon Wheel,” but we had no idea what to expect.  Frankly, we were very pleasantly surprised.  It’s a cool little college town, basically en route to Nashville from Blacksburg, and we were excited to find The Acoustic Coffeehouse to be filled with fun from the moment we walked in. 

The Acoustic Coffeehouse had a great selection of local brews, an eclectic vibe, and an extremely varied clientele.  We’d had a write-up in the local paper, so the house was full!  A few very talented gypsy musicians comprised of two acoustic players and a washboard player opened up the evening, and we enjoyed sitting back and hearing some extremely raw and earthy music.  Next on the bill was a Zydeco keys player and the booking guy himself on the fiddle, which was a fun combo.  And finally we closed the night to a very boisterous crowd that was there for good music and good brews.  Overall, it was a great night!

:::Murfreesboro, TN/Nashville, TN:::
We were home!! It had been months since our last visit to Nashville, and we were more than a little excited to be back! For the little more than a week that we were there, we nestled back into a few old habits like patroning our favorite bars, The Holland House and The Pharmacy.  Both bars are owned and operated by the same two guys, and both happen to be directly across from our condo in East Nashville.  Sadly, we weren’t able to go home-home as our renters might not appreciate that, but we did stop by our place to say hi and grab a few things, which was weird you might say, seeing other people living in your space and using your things (we rented it out fully furnished). 

We also patroned a couple of our other favorites on multiple occasions, The Silly Goose, The Ugly Mug, and a new favorite: The Crying Wolf, all in East Nashville of course. And I’d be remiss not to mention our staple favorite coffee shop, Bongo Java.  I was shaken to find that it had changed, along with many of our Nashville streets and neighborhoods, as they’d moved the roaster to a new locale and paired down the menu offerings a bit, but as we change, so must the rest of the world I suppose.

Our first gig in the area was just down the road in MTSUville, Murfreesboro.  We were scheduled to play at a relatively new brewery (definitely new to us, since we’ve been on the road for…ever), Mayday Brewery.  This place is cool, and the beer is good!  Go Tennessee, some changes are awesome folks!  

We were scheduled to play at the brewery on the same evening as an art event, which made for a good crowd of art enthusiasts.  We also had some friends drive over from Nashvegas who had not heard us play in quite some time, due to our current road hog status.  I have to say, playing to friends and family can sometimes be more intimidating than playing to a large group of anonymous listeners.  That said, it was a fun evening.  We even had a private tour with one of the owners where we took some obscure photos with a life-sized Ron Jeremy, and Cie got to drink a new batch of brew right out of the beer tank.  There may have been some secret room shot taking as well, just saying…

We hadn’t played in Nashville since the previous December (our last real visit back ‘home’), so it was about time.  We actually ended up booking a house show in East Nashville at the home of longtime music/musician friend (also former students’ parent), Barbara.  In one of East Nashville’s historic homes, the setting felt rather perfectly intimate for our Nashville return.  The home still held a lot of old charm with a near old school brothel or saloon feel to it.  And we had a fun melding of former teaching colleagues, students, musician friends, industry friends, family, and the like.  We capped the night off with a bit of barhopping in Five Points with old friends, and I must say it reminded us why we love Nashville so much. 

:::O’ Fallon, MO:::
With the goal in mind of reaching Seattle the week of Christmas, we had a lot of ground to cover.  Therefore, after a fun week of family, friends, and Thanksgiving fanfare in Nashville we finished off the month at wine bar in O’ Fallon, MO, just outside of St. Louis. 

Rendezvous Café & Wine Bar has a homey coffee bar vibe to it, with a great selection of wine and a tasty dinner menu.  We were set up in the front of the café next to a twinkling Christmas tree, which set the mood for a romantically low-lit evening.  This little café is the perfect ambience for a listening room, designed for contemplative and collaborative listening.  When I say collaborative, I mean it allowed us to have meaningful conversation with listeners throughout the evening only adding to the tenderness of the night.  It was an embracing crowd, and a lovely little spot. On another note, I cannot believe tomorrow is already December time flies when your always traveling!


Beavercreek / Canal Winchester / Miamisburg ~ October 19, 25, 26 ~ Spinoza’s/ Harvest Moon Cafe / A Taste of Wine

::: TRAVEL :::
HER TAKE ~ Ohio is pretty dang similar to my own home state of Iowa.  So similar in fact, that when going to school in Nashville people often confused the two states.  Not so difficult to understand when you think about the fact that the majority of both states consists of corn and soy beans, both states are spelled with four letters, three of which are vowels, and they are only about 400 miles apart.  We also happen to have ‘family’ in the state.  Okay, longtime friends, but what’s the difference?  We felt like we were coming home.  

::: TASTE :::
HER TAKE ~ Spinoza’s in Beavercreek, Ohio is known for it’s pizza and Italian fare.  We each ordered a tasty calzone.  Mine was filled with goat cheese, parm, and an array of tasty veggies, while Cie got the traditional carnivore’s delight filled with mozz, and fruita del meat.  We were told that the next time we better stay for the gelato (Cie will keep that in mind ;-). 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the many amazing meals we had at Chef Falato’s place.  Our dear friend, incidentally executive producer on our second album, Rory Falato is serious about his cooking.  This guy is not fooling around.  We enjoyed everything from his own famous cured meats layered into delicious sandwiches to roasted chicken and veggies, homemade gumbo with chef made sausage, shrimp stir-fry, and countless other delicacies.  And his wife, Becky treated us to traditional Lebanese food while we were there as well including fresh grape leaves, homemade labne, hummus, and tabouli.  Let’s just say, that we were not starving musicians during our week in residence with the Falatos.  

While Chef Falato kept us filled up between gigs, we also enjoyed playing and eating at the Harvest Moon Cafe in Canal Winchester.  The owners have combined their passions for creative craft cocktails and fresh seasonal local healthier food options into one delicious little spot.  The adjoining wine cellar/herbal shop continues to showcase what the couple holds most dear and gives the space a very intimate/cozy feel.  I loved the roasted veggie sandwich with goat cheese and a side salad, while Cie went for it with the goat burger stuffed with goat cheese.   We couldn’t say anything baaaaaaaaad about it. ;-)  Yumm-o.  

A Taste of Wine in nearby Miamisburg is an adorable little wine bar located on the first floor of a completely renovated downtown building.  The ladies that own the places went to great lengths to help revitalize the downtown area after the building had gotten to the point of near condemnation.  Now a thriving little community, Miamsburg is lucky to have them.  They have an extensive selection of wine and beer, and we enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine ourselves.  I also shared an Ace Pumpkin Cider with a local listener.  Stop in for a taste if your in the area!

::: TUNES :::
HER TAKE ~ Spinoza’s in Beavercreek has a nice little stage and an appreciative crowd.  They also have their own PA which is always a bonus.  We were a unique pairing for a place that we were later told typically hosts guys that regularly play well-known covers, and they were happy to have us mix things up a bit.  While I was disappointed that Ohio State had stomped the Iowa Hawkeyes in the last quarter of the game earlier that evening, Spinoza’s crowd and clientele more than made up for the loss.  We’ll be back!

In contrast to the good sized dining hall, sound, stage and lighting in Spinoza’s, The Harvest Moon Cafe had us set up in the front window of their very cozy little cafe.  We carved out our space and enjoyed a relaxing evening making fast friends with locals and listeners.  

We really enjoyed chatting with one of the owners of A Taste of Wine and her husband in Maimisburg before our show.  The two were proud and happy small town business owners, that had a lot to be proud and happy about.  Their little wine bar provided a warm and inviting setting to share our music with folks sipping on a lovely glass of vino.  


Holland/ Grand Rapids (OH) / Flint / Port Huron / Saline ~ October 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 ~ Our Brewing / Majestic Oak Winery / Cork on Saginaw / Raven Cafe / Spotted Dog Winery


::: TRAVEL ::: Driving through Chicago is always fun, but doing it in a 24 foot sprinter van makes it even more crippling.  We left after rush hour, but that means nothing in Chicago.  Word to the wise, if you are going to Chicago, fly.  They have excellent public transport.  Alas, when touring as an indie duo, that’s just not an option.  That being said, I’m always thankful for my lovely husband and his amazing driving skills.  So, while we made it to Holland, Michigan by the skin of our teeth.  We got there.  And Holland is a gem.  It’s yet another Dutch town in the US and it’s beautiful!  Stunning views of Lake Michigan, Dutch windmills, and an adorable downtown area are just a few of the things that make Holland special.  Not to mention the great beer!

::: TASTE ::: Speaking of beer, our venue for the evening was Our Brewing right in the heart of Holland.  This is a fairly new microbrewery with an awesome array of brews and ciders to sample from.   And being a cider fan, I was giddy looking over the menu.  I tried multiple ciders and each had it’s own unique flavors.  Cie couldn’t find a brew he didn’t enjoy.  

::: TUNES ::: They have a manly mustache and rustic décor within Our Brewing and a great sized bar.  With friends in town, we had a fun and appreciative crowd, and the bar backs mentioned how excited they were to hear something different in the brewery.  We mustache make it a point to play there again! ;-)

::: TRAVEL :::Driving through Michigan, we found ourselves falling in love with the Midwest all over again.  Fall is beautiful in Michigan with such a vast array of colors and lush landscapes of fields and forestry.  While ideally we would have gone on to the next nearby Michigan venue, sometimes dates end up taking us out of state and jumping back up again.  Today was one of those days.  With our venue, Majestic Oak Winery in Grand Rapids, Ohio, having a special event that day, we made the trek down to Ohio for the evening.  While I must say the winery was off the beaten path, it was well worth the journey.  

::: TASTE ::: A family owned and operated winery, Majestic Oak Winery made us feel right at home.  With a car show out back next to the beautiful vineyard, we were invited to try a grape right off the vine and lust over some beautiful classic and muscle cars.  I must say, I was surprised by the sweetness of the grape.  I had expected something more tart from a wine grape, but this was truly one of the best grapes I’ve ever tasted.  We each partook in a lovely glass of white wine and followed up our musical set with some food truck delicacies.  

::: TUNES ::: While it was a rather warm day and Majestic Oak Winery has a lovely outdoor area with picnic tables surrounding the food truck and looking out on the vineyard, as the sun set and temperatures dropped we were happy to be playing inside.  We had a lively crowd of wine enthusiasts and enjoyed a fun evening of sharing our music!  We also had some friends in the audience that had jetted down from Michigan to see the show.  It’s always such a treat to have familiar faces in the crowd.  We’ll be sure to put this winery on the perma-tour map!

::: TRAVEL ::: After a lovely few days spending times with friends in central Michigan, we continued down the road to Flint.  Little did we know that Flint is considered the most dangerous city in America (per capita that is). We were fully oblivious to that fact rolling into Flint and pulling up to our beautiful venue, Cork on Saginaw.  After the show, when we were prepping to cruise down the road to the nearby Wal-Mart (As I may have mentioned before, most Wal-Marts allow free overnight camping, IT’s IN THEIR BI-LAWS!), we were encouraged to drive at least 30 miles so that we did not have to experience any robberies or murders while we slept.  Good to know!

::: TASTE ::: Cork on Saginaw has a sumptuous menu full of many of our favorite things, so we found it extremely difficult to make any sort of choices.  Alas, we couldn’t eat everything, so we ordered warmed goat cheese in marinara with a baguette for dipping, and each enjoyed a tasty salad.  My salad was a standout, topped with seared scallops.  Delish!  I also enjoyed a nice glass of wine while we played; when in Rome right?

::: TUNES ::: They host live music weekly at Cork on Saginaw, and attendees seem to really appreciate what they hear.  We were set up in the front window, and while this revamped bank building had quite the lengthy layout, we enjoyed a cozy and eager crowd throughout the evening. 

::: TRAVEL ::: On our return trip to Port Huron, Michigan we grew more and more excited as we neared the venue.  Minutes from the Canadian border and nestled on Lake Huron, we always enjoy visiting this little town.  They have a great little KOA, which we were happy to return to for a cozy night with all the hook-ups.  It was quite a contrast to our last visit there, considering we were still roughing it in freezing temps in the teardrop on our last visit.   Oh what a difference a large monetary investment and a new vehicle makes!

::: TASTE ::: Our venue for the evening, was a familiar setting for us.  We had played at the Raven Café almost a year ago to the day before.  They have a nice sized menu and a homey central bar with a good selection of local brews on tap.  We tend to eat after we play, so I enjoyed the bean soup and a baked potato on the chilly evening, while Cie devoured their grilled mesquite chicken salad. 

::: TUNES ::: This place is special.  It boasts quite possibly the most unique stage of any venue we’ve played to date.  The stage is set up in a balcony area overlooking diners below and across from those dining on the balcony on the far end of the café.  The only way to reach the stage is through a small portal and ladder from below.  And the bartender for the evening sets your levels on the soundboard at the bar.  If you have a fear of heights I don’t recommend you play here, otherwise, it’s a mainstay on our tour schedule.  Too cool!

::: TRAVEL ::: With Saline, Michigan located just minutes away from the massive college town of Ann Arbor, we were excited to have some of our friends from Ann Arbor come to see us play in Saline at Spotted Dog Winery.  Located in a very industrial area, the winery is clearly a local’s spot.  This is a family run business that makes you feel like a part of their family from the moment you walk in the door.  Especially with the greeting we received from the owner’s black lab, so cute!

::: TASTE ::: You can’t go wrong when selecting one of their vino varieties.  I kept to the Spotted Dog White, a nice light yet dry wine with a delicate aromatic flavor.  And we were so excited to be gifted with two bottles of Spotted Dog Wine with custom You Knew Me When labels!   What a fun surprise!

::: TUNES ::: We were set up in the corner of the winery on a teak rug overlooking the tasting room and tasting bar.  It was an intimate evening filed with old friends and new.  We were even joined on the stage by Grandpa on the mandolin!  Good times!








Chicago/Evanston~ October 8, 9, 10 ~ Red Line Tap/ Uncommon Ground / The Celtic Knot

::: TRAVEL :::
HER TAKE ~ We absolutely love Chicago.  It’s one of those cities that seems to do everything right.  Great people.  Great food.  Great public transport.  Free Zoo. Beautiful public art and parks.  Great shopping.  And awesome spaces for live entertainment.  We came close to moving to Chicago before Cie worked with Gibson because we seriously love it that much.  That said, there was one major deterrent, the winters.  Cold, cold, cold, and windy.  Happily, we made it to Chicago before any of that hit, and were lucky to come up against some beautiful fall weather.  With the government shutdown closing all state parks, we were blessed to have friends in the area that had already invited us to stay.  Not to mention the fact that they miraculously have a DRIVEWAY that happened to fit Jack (our new vehicle/travel companion) like a glove!   We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect set-up.  

We also had the opportunity to play in Evanston this go ‘round.  Evanston is truly an extension/suburb of Chicago, only about 20 minutes north of Wrigleyville. However, it holds it’s own special identity.  With an adorable little downtown, and a very different vibe and clientele than any other boro, we’d been too in Chicago.  It provided a really lovely small town feel while situated in amazing proximity to Chicago’s sprawling city center.  

::: TASTE :::
HER TAKE ~ So, when you think of a somewhat divey Chicago music venue, you don’t often correlate that with local, organic, and sustainable food.  However, The Red Line Tap does things a bit differently.  They get their food from their big brother next door, The Heartland Cafe.  They even have a little adjoining order window inside where the bartender magically produces amazing dishes out of thin air. ;-)  I enjoyed the seitan BBQ sammy with sweet potato fries.  The sandwich was the highlight, and although my masterful mess making skills had me saturated in sauce, I was left licking my chops.  

On one of our days off in Chicago, I encouraged Cie to take a little early morning stroll with me to a nearby donut shop, where we overindulged by purchasing not 2, but 5 different delicacies!  From pumpkin donuts to jelly filled globs of goodness to pastries and more Dinkel’s Bakery has it all.  We left feeling like total glutens, but ready to take on a sugar high of great proportions and give our spandex waistlines a little stretch.  We were not disappointed.  Supplemented with my cup of tea and Cie’s obligatory morning coffee, we were in our own sweet empty calorie induced heavenly comas.  

The Celtic Knot, our Evanston venue, caters to the Irish fare loving crowd.  Cie & I both went full on traditional ordering up the fish and chips and the bangers and mash.  Both dishes would make an Irish Momma proud.  

::: TUNES :::
HER TAKE ~ Going into our fifteenth month on the road, we’ve had the opportunity to play at quite a few of our favorite venues a second time now.  The Red Line Tap in Chicago was one of our favorite spots the first trip around the sun, so we were happy to play a return performance there.   The venue could easily be compared to East Nashville’s 5 Spot in with it’s local clientele with great entertainment, good sound, & good beer.  We also played with local favorites The Mudflapps for the second time, a talented group of bluegrass players that keep audiences entertained by continuously switching up the lead vocalist on boot stomping traditional tunes.  

Uncommon Ground on Devon in Chicago boasts a great little lounge/listening room where folks come out specifically for the music.  The sound set up was perfect for an intimate evening of music sharing, and we were joined on the stage by the talented folksinger Lynn O’Brien and her sidekick beat boxer, Nick Demeris.  They incorporated some fun looping technology into their live performance which created a cool layering effect.  While this was one of their first shows together, their unique styles flowed together like sex and candy.  I’d be disappointed if they didn’t put out a future album together.  

The Celtic Knot in Evanston is not your typically Irish pub.  It elevates things a bit by encouraging a more upscale crowd for the dinner hour with white tablecloths and couples ordering buckets of champagne.  But as evening hits full swing, the tablecloths come off and the entertainment gets a bit rowdier.  Cool little spot that we’ll definitely hit up again on our next visit to Chi-town.


Kenosha / Sheboygan / Wisconsin Dells / Monroe ~ September 28, October 3, 4, 5 ~ Sazzy B / Glas / Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill / The Bean & Barrel

::: TRAVEL :::
HER TAKE ~Sometimes things don’t go exactly as we have planned.  Upon arrival at the state park nearby Kenosha, WI we were hit with the reminder that we were not the only ones that frequented campgrounds, in fact, the campground was full.  Well, that wouldn’t be such a big deal if the nearest campground wasn’t about forty minutes out of our way and in the wrong direction.  Alas, we decided now was a good moment to spring on a hotel room.  While many of the traditional online searches tend to yield the best response, i.e., etc.  Sometimes speaking with a real person will actually get you the best deal.  So I called around and got a pretty dang good deal if I do say so myself.  By the time we rolled into the hotel we were in dire need of a shower and a bed, so I guess it worked out for the best.  Sometimes, spending the additional sixty bucks is worth the creature comforts (especially after having roughed it in the venue parking lot the night before).  We didn’t get a lot of time to explore Kenosha, WI, but it seems like a very cool place with lots of very cool people.  And it’s close to a great lake, so lots of people have boats.  We’ll be back to enjoy this again sometime.  
SO…. big change on the way.  We had been discussing an upgrade of our vehicle for eons.  In fact, the 4runner alone had over 218,000 miles on it!  It was time.  Cie had been doing loads of research to find us the perfect replacement, and yes, that included Hop going to a new home as well.  Thus, we made a slight alteration in our plans and after leaving Kenosha, made our way back over and down to Iowa to check out a Mercedes Winnebago Sprinter Van.  You might be saying to yourself, “hot dang, that sounds fancy!” And oh it is. In fact, after the trade in and lots of negotiation, it still took most of our life savings for the down payment, and we’ll be looking at a monthly for years to come.  With that said, holy mother of standard of living improvement! When you spend 24-7 on the road for over 15 months in a 4runner with a car-top carrier, pulling a teardrop camper, you become more and more aware of what you had vs. what you have.  A couch…ah….a toilet… mmm…a shower… Well, you catch my drift.  Anywho, this baby has it all, in an itty-bitty living space.  It’s worth it.  And we love it.  
Now, driving down the highway to Sheboygan in our new pimp ride, we were reminded just how beautiful mother nature can paint the world.  With leaves changing and autumn engulfing us with our new panoramic view, we couldn’t help but smile and get excited about our continued adventure.  That said, it was a lovely drive and Sheboygan was again filled with good people.  We pulled up the new van right next to the venue which overlooked the river, and with a bit of chill in the air and fog settling in, it proved the perfect first evening spent in our new home.  
It might seem silly that the third night after we just got a brand spanking new ride/home, we stayed at a resort, but you can’t really turn down a two bedroom condo.  As we drove into Wisconsin Dells, memories of my childhood seeped in as if my sisters were still sitting on either side of me and I could still taste the ginormous Paul Bunyan pancakes with maple syrup that the Dells offers up on an oversized platter, remember coasting along the lazy river at Noah’s Ark Waterpark, and experiencing the sheer excitement of making the transition between land and water on Wisconsin Dells’ ducks.  Being an Iowa girl, Wisconsin was just a hop-skip-and a jump away growing up, so the tourist destination of Wisconsin Dells had been on the docket more than once in my childhood.  And I was smiling from ear to ear with excitement on our drive in.  The booking agent at the resort even hooked us up with Duck tickets, and it was just as fun as I remembered.  In fact, I may have appreciated it more because I was older and got all of the corny jokes about the landscape and rock formations that the tour guide/duck driver dropped at every opportunity.  And Spring Brook Resort, which housed our venue for the evening was lovely.  It’s one of those places where you could see yourself spending at least a week and never getting bored, yet still feeling cozy and at home in the accommodations.  
It was hard to tear ourselves away from the Dells, but we had to make our way onto our next spot, Monroe, Wisconsin.  Monroe is a small city hall centered Midwestern town with a cute little town square, that happened to hold our venue for the evening.  Since we were rolling in just before gig time, we pulled up right in front of the venue and were met with the eager eyes and questions of some of the locals.  We even gave a brief tour of our new home.  Oh, did I mention his name yet?  Brace yourselves… Jack.  He’s a Jack of all trades, he enjoys a good day of doing Jack squat, drinking some Jack Daniel’s, he’s our new buddy Jackers… okay, you get the picture.  Jack definitely stands out in a crowd.  He’s tall.  You can actually stand up inside of him, unlike our former friend Hop, who you were lucky if you were able to sit up completely inside of and not bump your head.  As I said before, Jack has taken us to a whole new level.  Thank God.  

::: TASTE :::
HER TAKE ~So, we’d been excited for a while to check out Sazzy B, in part because of it’s fun name.  Upon arrival however, we found that the venue had accidentally double booked.  This sometimes happens.  It had happened to us once before on the tour, so we’d learned to go with the flow.  We pulled up a bar stool and enjoyed sipping on a smooth glass of Jameson whiskey awaiting our turn to entertain the crowd.  Not such a bad way to wait.  
Glas is primarily a coffee shop but also serves food.  With the evening chill in the air, I ordered us both a cup of the butternut squash soup as well as a burrito.  Cie ended up eating up both burritos and I devoured the soup, as the burritos were pre-made and full of cheese.  But both hit the spot for us.  We even came back the morning after the show and grabbed a cup of coffee and a soy chai for the road.  Good stuff.  
Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill had a couple of good local brews on tap, so we each enjoyed a pint of the Spotted Cow.  We also supped on some tasty pasta with parm and roasted tomatoes as well as a tasty tuna steak.  We took the food back to our condo that the resort had put us up in for the evening and enjoyed a late night of feasting and relaxing.  With football to watch in the morning and ducks to ride in the afternoon, we were definitely overwhelmed with a sense of overall satisfaction that could not be described but felt nonetheless after a long week.
The Bean and Barrel in Monroe is not your average restaurant, bar, or coffee shop.  In fact, in the words of the waitress for the evening, if you work there you are not just a barrista,  a bartender, or a server, you have to be all three.  This place seems to touch on all things tasty.  We each enjoyed a couple of brews as well as a BLT wrap and sweet potato fries. Everything is made to order, so we left with warm food and ended the evening with smiling Buddha bellies.  

::: TUNES :::
HER TAKE ~Sazzy B in Kenosha is a great space.  It’s set up as a lounge with a nice bar and good sized dining room.  Diners are there to enjoy a good meal and listen to good music.  The audience was engaged and the service was top notch.  This is a great place to sip on a glass of whiskey or enjoy a bottle of wine with a loved one and have the added perk of great live music.   While we played a short set due to the double booking, we’ll be more than happy to come back and share some more songs again down the road.  
Glas in Sheboygan is still establishing itself as a local hotspot for music.  It’s the new kid on the block.  That said, it’s got a neat two tiered set up with a balcony area overlooking the main dining hall.  This gives it a bit of a listening room feel which worked well for the evening.  It also has a great outdoor space on the waterfront with a large deck/patio that I could see being a great space to enjoy some acoustic music during the warmer months.  We had a nice crowd and a chill evening of some of our more introspective tunes.  
Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill hosts live music regularly on the weekends.  As a part of the resort, and really center to the resort, it seems to be the local watering hole where everybody knows your name or will by the end of the night.  This is not your typical resort.  It’s a resort filled with vacation homes and a few rental condos.  But most of the folks who come there own their places.  Therefore, the bar and grill really gave the familiar small town vibe with all of the upscale comforts of the resort mentality.  Live music on the weekends being one of their assets as well as a great food and drink menu, and even better people.  What’s not to like? 
If the Bean & Barrel in Monroe doesn’t have what you like, you should probably stay home, because these guys literally have everything from ice cream to espresso, local brews, to home cooked meals.  And live music seemed to be just an added bonus for this small town spot.  Set up in the front window, we enjoyed spending the evening sharing our music with people stopping in for a scoop or enjoying a full meal.  It was an eclectic and interesting evening full of small town characters where we left knowing just as much about the audience as they knew about us, and happy to have made the stop.