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It’s been 4 weeks and 2 days since arriving in Germany.... 8 more to go! We landed in Frankfurt and were greeted and picked up by new friend, Meisha. He drove us down to Neuenburg where we stayed the first 4 days. On the way, we stopped off in Freiburg at Schmiddy and Ursela’s house to pick up the van. Schmiddy and Kim have been working together since she started coming over here 10 years ago. The drive from Frankfurt to Neuenburg was a beautiful drive, with the black forrest on our left and France on our right as we headed South in the direction of Switzerland. After landing in Neuenburg, Meisha and his girlfriend, Katrine took great care of us sleepy jet lagged Americans. Katrine, an amazing cook, fed us constantly and Meisha enjoyed picking guitar with the fellas.
I am on this tour as a side fiddle player with my Country Music artist friend, Kim Carson. Although my music is not country, Kim has graciously agreed to let me play some of my songs too on this tour from my new record, Make Everything Bright. So far, my record sales over here have been more than I had imagined. And I just got word from a German radio station www.countrymusic24.com with whom I contacted before the tour, that he put one of my songs, Henry John, on his 4th of July playlist. Thanks, Hermannn.
We are a 4 piece band.... Kim on bass, me of the fiddle/acoustic guitar/vocals (and sometimes drums!!!), Eric Griffith on drums/acoustic guitar/bass/vocals and Josh Joseph on electric/acoustic guitars/keyboards/vocals. We’ve quickly become friends and enjoyed the musical process of learning new songs together and tightening up songs we’ve played through the years.
I am finally getting around to blogging. It’s been difficult finding the time, but have had a few days off to catch up. It has been a very busy schedule so far. In the time off, I usually find myself in a lake swimming, drinking coffee or in the sunshine working on my tan or reading a book. It’s such a hard life, ya know? :)
I have had the chance to see much of the German, Norwegian and Swiss country side. We’ve performed in lot’s of small towns....it’s been nice because it has given a taste of the people and lifestyle outside of the cities. It has also reaffirmed my continuous desire to live in a city and/or near water.
One of the highlights was returning to Norway. I lived there in 1991 for 6 months working at Soltun Folkehøgskole in Northern Norway. This trip over, I had the chance of seeing the mid section of Norway where many of the fiords and rivers run. I can’t even describe to you the beauty.... it almost appears fake, it’s so pretty. And, seeing the country through adult eyes was refreshing and also brought back many memories of the people I met and the interesting things I did.
We flew from Norway back to Hamburg, Germany. I consider Hamburg one of my favorite cities so far on this tour. We were treated like royalty by Hans and Charlotte Gerst. Hans is the president of Best Western Hotels in Germany. So, he made sure that we were comfortable and ate really well. We spent a few days off there and enjoyed the city. I thought I would find myself doing lots of shopping, but have enjoyed soaking in the people, sounds and sights instead. After all, that seems to last much longer anyway in the long run, right? While in Hamburg, we drove over to Schwerin in Eastern Germany to play a show. Driving in that part of Germany really hit my gut, as I remembered that it was only 20 years ago that it was a Communist country. I also thought of all the people who suffered many years ago in concentration camps under Hitler’s Regime... I spent a lot of time thinking hard on all those people.
Scherwin was magical. We played on the grounds of Best Western (which by the way is a really nice hotel over here) right on the water. They were celebrating their 20 year declaration of freedom.... and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. We played American Country music for them and all of the locals all dressed up in cowboy hats, boots and get up! After our performance, they ended the night with fireworks. It truly was a poignant moment to have the opportunity to celebrate with them such a remarkable day.
We spent last week at Irene’s house, Kim’s Swiss agent. Irene lives on a former sheep farm with her husband, George, and dog. Her house is located about 10 miles from Luzern, Switzerland and right above Lake Luzern (Dutch spelling)... English is, Lucerne. I LOVED LUZERN! What a fabulous city! I did visit H&M there and bought a few basic clothing items (yes, mom...that’s all the shopping i’ve done so far). Eric is my shopping buddy. He and I seem to be the fashionistas on this particular tour. He is quite impressed with the form fitting attire that European men wear as opposed to the typical loose unappealing wear of American men. I am a fan of the form fitting articles for night attire, myself, but also find myself drawn to the more hippified dresses and linens that you see many of the girls wear when they are out riding their bikes. Speaking of bikes... I have plans to ride mine more when I return to Nashville. I love seeing everyone on their bikes over here.... they are everywhere!
A lovely couple, Martin and Hildegard along with Hildegard’s brother, Paco, took us on a trip up to Stoos, a mountain top near Luzern. We reached the top by cable car and then ski lift. It's the steepest cable car in the world, according to the Swiss. It was so amazingly beautiful/breathtaking.
I am currently in Wasserburg, Germany, (sits on the Lake of Constance) where we have been for the last 3 or 4 days. Kim and I have worked on our figures and tans each morning.... sets of ab, arm and leg training. Kim takes it a little bit more seriously than I do, as I care about my body, but enjoy absorbing the scenery & wine much better! LOL Actually, the wine is much stronger here, so I haven’t been indulging myself so much. It has been nice waking up, taking walks to the lake, napping in the sun, eating extremely healthy, sitting down for an afternoon coffee, reading my book (at the moment, Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin’), getting my head sorted, eating with band mates, and getting to bed early... and waking up and doing that again and again.... until our next gig!
We took the train to Lindau, yesterday and enjoyed the afternoon kicking around there. The town is actually a penninsula. It also sits on the Lake of Constance and is bordered by Austria and Switzerland... can I say “beautiful” one more time in this blog?
Ok, that is a catch up on most of what has gone on so far on this Euorpean tour/vacation. Hope to be a bit more consistent with it in the upcoming days/weeks!
Cheers for now!
Peace & love