Monday, June 30, 2014

Until next time, Colorado!

Headed east today, we said goodbye for now to Colorado and set our sights on St. Louis. Our final week in Colorado ended in a whirlwind of shows, separated by that gorgeous scenery, and each made special by the presence of some of the kindest people we've met on tour. 

We spent a couple of rejuvenating days in Steamboat Springs - rehearsing, soaking in the delightful hot springs and exploring the botanical gardens. We were grateful for the time to reflect and recharge, and for one more chance to experience everything that Colorado has to offer. After a show at Carl's Tavern, we headed to Denver for another favorite show of the tour at Cervantes Other Side. The crowd was ready to have a great time at an incredible venue with a unique history (look it up!), and there was a full line-up of fantastic musicians on two stages. 

It was fun to catch up with John Stickley, who played the same venue that evening, having just arrived in Colorado for a month-long tour with his own trio, and we all headed to Idaho Springs for the Clear Creek RapidGrass festival the following day. The rain mercifully held off for our Friday and Saturday sets, but nothing could have ruined the spirit of the lovely audience and our very friendly sound tech, Dave, whose cheery, helpful demeanor and infectious laugh made us instantly happy. We rocked out Friday night to Mountain Heart's set and enjoyed catching up with them before we parted ways. 

We made a quick trip back to Carbondale, where we began our Colorado tour, and had a chance to run down the street to hug Steve (we played his venue, Steve's Guitars, on our first night in CO) before taking the stage at The Black Nugget, where the crowd was full of energy and ready to dance the night away! 

A short few hours later we were back on the road to our final show in Colorado at the Stage Stop in Rollinsville. The afternoon crowd was warm and welcoming, our sound man Shawn was wonderful, and the presence of folks we'd just met a few days before made it feel like we were among old friends. 

It was a Sunday afternoon and we were desperately in need of a new fiddle bow - but the only remote possibility seemed to be the closed instrument shop we saw pulling in. I thought maybe the shop belonged to the man we heard playing his fiddle outside a restaurant across the street from our venue, (it didn't), but when I ran across the street to ask and introduce myself, I made a wonderful new friend - Warren. After he finished his own show, Warren came up to hear ours, singing along to the old songs with us and reinforcing what we've been discovering all along - Colorado is home to some of the nicest people in the country. 

Thanks for making us feel so welcomed! We'll see you all again soon! 

Tomorrow we'll play in St. Louis at Evangeline's at 8 PM. We're looking forward to this one last stop on tour, and then we'll be ready to head to VA where lots more adventures await. 

Lots of love! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Frisco, Salida, Telluride

Please excuse us for not updating as frequently. Last week was a whirlwind of shows criss-crossing Colorado and we were never around internet service for very long.  We've travelled some of these Colorado roads so frequently  that we're starting to recognize buildings, towns and landmarks. All that being said, we've still been having a great time. As the days and towns and shows start to run together, the one thing that continues to stand out is how kind everyone here has been and how enthusiastic they are to hear and support live music.  

We have also been blessed to have familiar faces popping up along the way to lend a helping hand or just offer the comfort of a reminder of home. We have to extend our thanks on this leg of the journey specifically to John and Audrey Buck who have made it a point to catch multiple shows while on their vacation out here (or were they just keeping tabs on us for their son (and our booker) Johnny???) and helped us find lodging in the overbooked town of Telluride. They made a hectic weekend a little smoother. 

Speaking of Telluride, I know you're all anxious to hear how we did in the Band Competition. We sped into town early on Friday morning after a late gig in Salida on just a few hours of sleep. Nerves tingling, we went second out of the nine bands competing. Unfortunately, we did not advance to win but we felt like we did the best we could. The competition was very tough; there was not a single bad band there. Virginia was well represented by yours truly along with The Green Boys from Richmond and the Gold Top County Ramblers from Sperryville (both great bands you should check out if you get the chance). Top honors went to Trout Steak Revival from Denver, an insanely talented band. We were able to chat with them a bit before the competition and are looking forward to hanging out with them some more at the upcoming RapidGrass festival in Rollinsville where we are both playing. 

Yesterday, we took some down time to hike the Bear Creak trail near Telluride. It was good to get out and moving after spending so much time driving to and fro. And the views on the trail did not disappoint. But why should that surprise us? Nothing here has. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Durango, Creede, Gunnison

Where to begin.... It seems like it's been forever since our last blog post. One day turns into three here, but I say that in the best way possible. It's like somehow we've been able to pause time and live in the moment as long as we choose.  I'm learning so much about myself, our world, the beauty that surrounds me... I'm taking it all in.  Some notable things that I don't want to forget - seeing dirt devils twirl around in the desert, falling in love with prairie dogs, just how big an elk really is, watching jack rabbits leap across the road at night, being scared to death to climb up a 12,000 ft mountain pass in the night only to reach the summit and watch shooting stars shimmer across the sky... Makes you forget what exactly you were afraid of in the first place. 

Now to take it back a little, Saturday night we played at the Balcony Bar in Durango. I'd say there were about 100 people or so throughout the night and as always, the folks there exceeded our expectations. We made some really lovely friends that night and look forward to keeping in touch with them after our travels. Most of the folks that came up the steps to join us said that our harmonies were ringing for blocks throughout the town and just had to come up and see what was going on. We had a bit of car trouble which resulted in us having to stay in the area until Monday morning. We celebrated Emily's birthday with an impromptu pool party at our hotel. 

Monday, we zipped on over to Creede, CO which is a sleepy little historic mining town. Johnny Depp's film, "The Lone Ranger" was filmed there, so if you have seen it you kind of have an idea about what the area looks like. Our show didn't begin until around 9:30 that night so we had the entire day to explore. However, the wind was whipping cold air through the mountains and most businesses closed at 4:30. We made the best of it though by rehearsing in the dugout at the local park and spending time at the visitors center learning about the history of the once booming silver mine town. Our show that night was at the Tommyknocker Tavern - the only place still open after 5:00 in town. Though the day was quite laid back, we knew within minutes of sitting down for dinner that our night was about to change! With a round of free shots and a fantastic saxophone rendition of Happy Birthday for Emily, we were about to start our best show of the tour yet! The folks in Creede were AWESOME. Energetic, appreciative, and so welcoming. I will never forget these people and how they made us feel.

Though it was made clear that we were more than welcome to stay over in Creede for the night, we decided to head on to Gunnison. The drive was long and scary and resulted in a severe lack of sleep but we made it safely and the show yesterday at IBar Ranch turned out to be another favorite of ours. The venue is relatively new but already has a strong following. The audience was attentive and lovely, the scenery was gorgeous, and the sound man, CJ, was on point! Couldn't ask for anything more. 

I write this as we are on the road to Frisco, CO where we will take stage at the Barkley Ballroom. I don't know what's about to happen but if history repeats itself, we are in for a real treat!

Miss you all,


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Carbondale, CO

Crossing into Colorado is surreal. As the road winds through the most diverse landscape I've ever seen, every turn opens into a more breathtaking view than the last. So many friends and family promised us that Colorado would be spectacular, and wow, you weren't kidding! 

We spent an absolutely delightful evening at Steve's Guitars in Carbondale. The tiny venue, packed with instruments and tour posters covering every square inch of wall and ceiling space, has a cozy, welcoming vibe. Everything about the place is laid back, from the way audience members felt free to converse with us while we were onstage to the crowd of people who enjoyed the show without the admission price, listening from the bench just outside the open door. We had a great time, and have to say thanks to Steve and Mary Margaret for their hospitality. 

Today, after a day off that seemed to span three seasons, full of lilacs and evergreens and wild roses - which we spent soaking in the hot springs, of course - we are in Durango. If you're nearby, catch us at the Balcony Bar late this afternoon and into the evening. We've been told it's a fantastic venue, and if history repeats itself, we can believe what we hear!  


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Santa Fe, New Mexico

We are on day three here in New Mexico and the natural beauty of this place continues to amaze. Yesterday we spent the day driving through the canyon from Taos back to Santa Fe and were then treated to a guided tour of downtown Santa Fe by our gracious hosts Bob and Marguerite. Walking through Santa Fe feels like taking a step back in time. City ordinance requires that all the buildings follow a strict Pueblo style of architecture which makes for a beautiful, scenic downtown experience steeped in history and the rich traditions of all the cultures that have blended here over the centuries. 

Our show for the evening took place at the Cowgirl Cafe in Santa Fe. We were nervous at first about the rather rowdy, honky-tonk, bar feel of the venue. But our fears quickly evaporated as we played for one of the most energetic and enthusiastic crowds we have ever had the pleasure to meet. If we have been awed by the natural beauty of New Mexico, we have been just as blown away by the beauty and kindness of the people who live here. 

It has been a whirlwind few days of travel, shows and site seeing. We are looking forward to having today off to nerd out and go see some Breaking Bad sites. :)

Much love

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Taos, New Mexico

New Mexico - we are here! There aren't any words to describe the beauty of traveling across the country and watching the landscape change. Yesterday was a day of nothing but driving. We trade driving shifts every two hours to make it easier on everyone.  Not that there is anything wrong with Oklahoma and Texas, but let's face it, traveling on 1-40 through those flatlands starts to get to you after a while! New Mexico was a welcome sight. Never a visual disappointment from the time we crossed the state line until the time we arrived in Santa Fe! We chased the sunset across the plains while listening to Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Conner's "Appalachian Journey," which made EVERYTHING seem really epic! We can't say enough how grateful we are to Bob & Marguerite White for letting us stay in their beautiful home while in New Mexico. My father, Don Blankenship flew out to New Mexico last week so that he could spend some time with his high school buddy, see the beautiful things this place has to offer and catch our shows. Talk about support!   We played tonight at the Taos Mesa Brewing Company in front of the most spectacular view from the stage! Tomorrow we'll head back to Santa Fe, and we can't wait to see more of this beautiful place. 


Monday, April 21, 2014

The most amazing night of our lives!

Hi Friends,

You looked amazing on Saturday night - WOW! Thanks, thanks, thanks for your energy and your love. We had an incredible time! With a packed house, amazing music from our friends Yankee Dixie and Kerosene Willy, and the gifts of Ruth Trochim and Cathrine Conner, who joined us onstage, we couldn't have imagined a better way to celebrate our new record!

Photo by Kim/Johnny Buck

Photo by Schuyler Davis

Photo by Schuyler Davis

And at in the final few minutes before midnight, as Kerosene Willy brought down the house, the last party animals standing.... our moms! 

Photo by Schuyler Davis

"Echo" will be officially released tomorrow, and we couldn't be more excited, or more grateful for everything you have done to support us along the way. Thank you!

Lots of love,
Rachel, Emily & Mary