:::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!
TRAVEL. TASTE. TUNE IN.