name='p:domain_verify'/> The Red Accordion Diaries

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wee boy updates ... chapter books!

I can't catch a break over here. It's nothing life-threatening or anything, and life is, overall, wonderful. But the most annoying little things keep coming at just the wrong times, and I just am never able to get even 20% of my To Do list done. Rather than complain, I thought I'd do that thing we all know we should be doing: focusing on the positive.


Exciting things happening:
matching fox hats and a KILT.

The Wee Boy has been hanging onto my every word at night when we read ... chapter books. It's the milestone I've been waiting for since that pregnancy test. We read to him every night, of course, because all the books say if you don't read to your child, he'll end up in prison (#grainofsaltplease). Up till now, of course, it's been short read-in-one-sitting books.

A few weeks ago, however, I started reading The Phantom Tollbooth out loud to him, and he
1) follows the storyline
2) understands most of the words and
3) is actually excited to find out what happens next.

 Considering bedtime and naptime have been the most stressful times of the day for me for the past 2.5 years, this is a huge improvement. "Mommy, can we read about Milo and the watchdog yet?" !!!! This is as close as he's ever gotten to asking to go to bed. It is a miracle because THERE ARE SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS TO START READING!!

What's your favorite? I remember when I was a nanny, we read Anne of Green Gables and some Oz books and Alice in Wonderland. I know they aren't all age-appropriate, but consider that David read Lonesome Dove in its entirety to the wee boy when he was 4-6 weeks old.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Insane week + fun video -- need your help to choose!!

Oh my goodness this has been an insane week. I don't even want to get into it, but know that I am SO ready for the weekend. It's supposed to be a beautiful sunny and 70 degrees in Louisville tomorrow, so let's all just embrace spring and Derby season and each other.

Also, check out this video, and tell me which you think is better for promo stuff, a cappella or with instruments:


Now, don't you think you need to hire this trio for your event? We've got a fun setlist of some old-time tunes plus some old-timey covers of more modern songs. I love having such talented friends.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Reflections on a tour and reunited with the Wee Boy.

I'm home now. It's been a bizarro week of riding the high of the tour, coupled with immediate solo parenting. David and I high-fived at the airport on Monday night; he left for a work trip just as I was arriving from Scotland. I've just gone to bed at 9p with the Wee Boy every night this week, not because of jet-lag but because I'm not sure what else to do with myself.

Brigid in Edinburgh, refreshed and anew.
Even my hair looks redder.
I've written about the challenges of balancing an artistic career with motherhood. I still don't understand how to do it. Just when I think I should just quit this silly, narcissistic career choice, I meet someone at a show who tells me how glad she was to have heard my songs -- how "restorative it was" and how much she needed to smile. And then I am reminded that art is absolutely necessary.

All but one of my tour dates in the United Kingdom were sold out, standing-room-only, filled-to-capacity. It was a reminder that the traveling troubadour is still both respected and important. Imagine a world where everyone pays the entry fee -- no one begs to be on the guest list or claims that $5 is too much. It exists! Just perhaps not where I live. Well, there are many people in Louisville who believe it, just perhaps not as many as elsewhere in my travels.

Touring is exhausting. But it doesn't even come close to motherhood. I got more sleep on the road than I've gotten in years. I got more alone time than I've gotten in years -- days when I walked 20k steps through cobblestones and castles! (Thanks, fitbit!) I read two books. Near the end, I actually felt like writing again. I almost remembered how to have a conversation with adults.

But, of course, nothing can top the amazing hugs and kisses and cuddles that I got from the Wee Boy when I returned! I wonder how I could possibly ever leave this kid for that long again. I've got to get a road nanny.

For those curious: it took him all of ten minutes to ask for nursies. You'd think he would have forgotten or my milk would have dried. Nope. Back to normal over here. Somehow I am a milk machine.

New music ... the single "Once I Had (Ballad of Nick Keir)" is available on various websites including:
or if you prefer a different audio format, you can buy it on my bandcamp site.

I'm working on a video for this song -- a very lofi video that's basically a love letter to Edinburgh's Old Town.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tour video diary -- Filey, North Sea, Chip Butties, High winds.

I'm home! But I'm going to continue to inundate you with images from my tour. Next time I need to bring along a social media person whose entire job is to post our silly videos online. I don't know why it's so complicated to upload the videos, but I never seem to have strong enough wifi on the days I actually have something to upload.

Here's a video of a morning in Filey.

I'm still riding this tour high. All but one of our shows was sold out. Seriously, people, sold out to capacity! Standing room only! It's amazing the reception the traveling troubadour can get, and it makes me want to play and travel all the time. I only wish I could afford to bring along a nanny and my wee boy. Till next time...

Here's a link to some great candid photos taken by photographer Stuart in Perthshire (Stu-Art Media and Event Photography:

Louisville, I'll be at the Monkey Wrench on Saturday around 6:00, maybe 6:30 depending on the basketball game schedule, playing with Steve Cooley and Larry Raley. Larry will sing some, I'll sing some, maybe even Steve will sing some!

The rest of you -- let me know if you've got a castle I can sing in:)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

UK Tour -- Manor House, Castle Gardens, Labradors and Tea. Filey.

We madrI'm in this bizarro world right now where I have more time than I've had in years, but I STILL DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME. Of course I better, but still ...  it's hard to keep in touch on the road. I Facetimed with the Wee Boy last night, and he didn't cry. That was good news. But on to tour updates...

Yesterday we had a long drive from Edinburgh to Yorkshire. I should say "long drive" only applies to my British readers, as it was only 200 miles. To Americans, that's just a commute. Roads are smaller and slower over here, however, so 200 miles takes about 5-6 hours of drive time. Thankfully, the countryside is breathtaking, and we broke the drive down into a couple of fabulous pit stops.

First we popped into visit a friend of Diana's, who lives in a stunning Manor House (like the Dowager's house on Downton) in the Borders (or is it "in" the Borders?). Here is a photo of the house, complete with a jolly Labrador resting on a tweed bed. Even posh Labradors enjoy a belly rub, by the way.

After a spot of tea -- well, I had cordial -- we drove to Northumberland, popping into the Alnwick Castle Gardens. Even though it's February, the gardens were completely gorgeous. It's Versailles on a much more attainable scale. Water shows, fountains, even little tractors for the wee ones.

The gardens weren't in full bloom (but snow drops and daffodils smiled at us), but we enjoyed the bamboo maze and lovely trellises anyway. Notice the SUN. It was a tropical 50 degrees. Coming from Kentucky where it was below zero F, this was spectacular.

The castle itself was closed, but Diana and I were able to catch a great view of it from the Treehouse Cafe. She pointed out the Quidditch Field from Harry Potter. Downton Abbey fans will recognize this caslte as "Brancaster Castle" from the current season finale/Christmas Special (it airs on Sunday in the US).

We eventually got to Filey, where we immediately got some chips and had a spot of tea. Then onto the gig, which was fantastic -- sold out, completely acoustic, in a library (swoon!), full of appreciative people. After the gig, which ended at 9:00 (double swoon!), we popped into the Real Ale House (pub) for a Scarborough Stout. I love playing small towns because all but 2 people in the pub had been at our gig. We walked through the pub doors and people said, "Brigid! Diana! Come in!" You know, as if we'd lived in Filey all our lives.

Sorry for the rambling ... just wanted to catch you up on the day to day before I get too behind. We made a cute video this morning on the Filey Beach as we walked along the North Sea. Fingers crossed that I ever get that edited. 
Tonight is a show in Whitby, and you should come to it! Whitby Pavilion. We play at 8, I believe.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UK Tour Day 1 - Goodbyes, Airport Lounges, G&Ts, and Hello, Edinburgh!


Somehow I feel like my blog is dull unless I'm out hunting dragons or reading funny street signs in foregin countries. That's not to say that my life is boring. Quite the contrary, I have the most imaginative quests everyday back in my Kentucky living room. They just generally involve Lego and Hot Wheels. They also involve cuddles and kisses and warm hugs. So don't get the idea that I think less of playing trains than taking trains. I just feel like travel makes for better blogging...

Yesterday I dropped the Wee Boy off at preschool, cried a lot and then went to the airport. It's funny -- I didn't cry at all his first day of school. Leaving him in his classroom yesterday was the worst, however, and I suddenly felt a great amount of sorrow and empathy for the parents who do feel that strongly on the first day of school. Because, oh man, all the feels ... all the feels. 

I was flying with fancy Platinum status, but United doesn't do automatic upgrades on international flights. So my hopes of sitting up front for the long haul were dashed, and I drowned my sadness with free drinks from the United Lounge (Platinum travelers do, at least, get into the lounges for free when traveling internationally.) Still, only well drinks were free, so I limited myself to two. I'm not sure why anyone who isn't a business traveler would pay $50 for well-drinks and cheese and crackers, although I suppose I can appreciate the comfy lounge chairs and lack of children hanging around. I snagged an office in the business room and actually got caught up on admin stuff.

My flight was delayed an hour, but the pilot somehow "took a shortcut" to make up for the time. I don't understand why they don't just always take the shortcut, but whatever. It blows my mind that it only took 5 hours and 15 minutes to get from New York to Scotland, but we are living in the future. I was about to sleep for about 3 -3.5 hours, which is par for the course back home. Honestly, I feel pretty much the same as I always do -- foggy, tired, having trouble with word retrieval, and generally like a Mom. 

this picture is Kentucky or Indiana. .. not sure which direction we were facing as i'm pretty sure the plane did a few circles...

Or should I say "Mum" because I AM IN SCOTLAND!!! And look how glorious the day is. My super power is perfect vacation weather, and my streak continues, people.

Immigration officers were supremely kind to me this morning while processing my work visa. Then my bag was the first one off the conveyor belt, and I skipped over to the tram station. The ticket booth didn't take cash, and it only takes the fancy chipn&pin credit cards that we, in America, are 10-years-behind-the-times and still don't have (later this year, I'm told?). But because I'm in Scotland and everyone is kind, the tram man took me aside, took my five pounds, and sold me a ticket manually. 

I'm not going to get political, but I LOVED my tram ride. It's a sore subject in Edinburgh, as the trams were over-budget and over-time to build. But the ride into the city was easy, quick and beautiful. I still audibly gasped when the castle came into view. If you've ever been to Edinburgh, you know what I mean. It's just ... well, it's just the greatest.

Diana met me at the tram stop, and I went straight to Stockbridge for breakfast at Earthy -- a delicious organic grocery store/restaurant. Coffee, eggs, toast, Scottish accents. Perfection.

Other highlights: catching up with an ex-pat at an adorable coffeeshop called Meanwhile. Rehearsing with Diana. Singing and playing music for several hours in a row ... like, that just never happens at home.

Edinburgh! Sorry. I just had to pinch myself a wee bit. The thing that's killing me now is that my family isn't with me. Also, I keep seeing adorable little 2-3year-old Scottish boys speaking in the most ridiculously adorable accents ... and I feel sad that my wee boy doesn't have one. Perhaps it's time to take a school tour over here...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Packing, leaving, aaaah! Plus super fun trailer for our tour by Lady Diana.

AAAAAAH!! I am laid-back in many ways, but I am, as always, having trouble balancing being a parent with getting ready for a business trip. I thought I was doing pretty well, to be honest, but then BAM! Snow Day! And another snow day ... and another ... and suddenly, well, I have a week's worth of work that just did not get done last week. I leave in 48 hours, and I haven't even made a list.

Trying to remember that all I really need is a passport and a credit card. Right? Now my big goal for the week is: keep track of passport and credit card.

All I'm bringing with me is a ukulele and a saw. I decided to check a 26" Stanley, though I generally have a rule about never checking bags, so fingers crossed there. Fingers also crossed that a friend comes through with an accordion for me (my red one ... well, it's a sad story that makes me tear up a bit and I swear I will tell you someday).

Anyway, I have a few things to do. Also, the house is a wreck, and my in-laws will be here in 24 hours. So, yeah, things are a bit crazy over here.

The magical Diana de Cabarrus (or Lady Di, as I call her), however, is keeping it together on the Scotland end of things. She's put together a song for our tour:

The melody + the weather also reminded me of this song that Shannon Lawson and I wrote together a few years ago. It's one of my faves, so I put it on the SoundCloud. xo

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