Friday, May 21, 2010

UK tour: luggage, dulcimers, tourism

Last night's gig was fun. We played a small pub seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but there was a nice crowd of folks who turned up. The excitement was that Butch's luggage had not been delivered to our first gig, but we'd managed to borrow a guitar. Last night we had no backup plan, and though the airline said they'd have the guitar to us by 5:00, it had still not turned up at 7:45.

I had an accordion, but my songs don't sound right with solo accordion and voice. I tend to use the accordion more like an organ or like a lead guitar, so I just didn't want to sing my originals that way. Hence, Butch taught me 4 chords on the dulcimer, just in case. It was kind of fun, actually, and even when the Delta delivery man appeared right at 8:00 as the gig was about to begin (he received much applause from me!), I opted to sing "Whisky in the Faucet" as a double-dulcimer number. Butch played lead, and I played rhythm. If I had a roadie, I'd be tempted to always do that tune on the dulcimer, but there's no way I'm going to haul a fifth instrument around to all my gigs.

We headed to Cirencester last night to visit my good friend Neil, who has saved our behinds multiple times on this tour already, both with a housing crisis and a last-minute PA fiasco. Last night, he had hot pizza and cold beer waiting for us as we pulled in about 11:30. This morning he cooked a proper English fry-up for breakfast, even providing mushrooms for the vegetarian (me). Delicious. Then we wandered around the city, looking at Roman ruins, winding streets, posh shops, divine tea and cookie eateries, and even a lovely walk on the Earl's property. Yes, Gloucestershire has an Earl, and said Earl is kind enough to open up his vast property to the locals for horseback-riding or hiking.

Speaking of hiking, the weather has been absolutely glorious since I landed. My rainjacket is packed away somewhere, and I wish I'd brought flip-flops. I only brought 3 t-shirts, and I've washed 2 of them already for re-use. This morning I went for a brisk walk by myself (even a bit of a jog because it's easy to forget how miserable running is when you are looking at cathedrals and stone cottages and gorgeous gardens), and I came back hot and sweaty from the weather, not the effort expended.

I love that I've had a little time off lately. It's really nice to be able to sit and write or go for a morning walk. Usually when you're on tour, there's a 6-hour drive to fit into your schedule, leaving no time for alone time or tourism. The UK is perfect for a more-relaxing schedule. I actually feel like I saw some cool stuff today. I'll post more photos later.

Gig tonight: The Vaults, an olde (note the "e") pub in Cirencester ("SYE-ren-cess-ter"), along with Florida's Carmela Pedicini, of 'Radio Free Carmela and the Transmitters' with a reduced part of her new band Passerine and Cirencester's own Tourettes; alt-covers band extraordinaire. Loved the Vaults last time I was there. Should be a good show!

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