Touring Highlights: Berlin

Band Fistful of Stars as a trio, had two nights and a day in Berlin before the start of our Germany tour. Scarcely enough for such an amazing city.

Finally downloading photos from tour…   They are a mix of my phone-taken pics, later mixed with awesome quality shots by world-class photographer Michael Rateike. 😉

BerlinBand Fistful of Stars as a trio (Rafa- guitar, JT- percussion, me- bass & accordions), had two nights and a day in Berlin before the start of our Germany tour. Two nights and a day- how tempting it was to spend it all busking on the streets (with my new teeny-tiny mini-amp!) But the idea of wandering as tourists, like kids on the streets, won out. Besides, we were soon to be on for 10 shows within 2 weeks; chillin’ time sounded good.

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We spent a lot of time in the city center, and though we aimed for places on the map, we never seemed to arrive. 😉 So we wandered.  I thought about taking every photo of Berlin through a window’s reflection, like I did  for our last tour in Europe (Amsterdam by Reflection)

Berlin3but, opted for just a couple instead.

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Love this artist, whose gallery windows we are looking through. His art reminds me of Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the wild things are’, but more raw.

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Berlin’s center is undergoing a major facelift along the river. Everywhere you look- there are temporary hot pink water pipes transporting water to an unbroken waterfront of construction sites. At first it was like walking into someones remodel. Chaos at points; inaccessible river walks, cranes on the horizon, detours. But then, it became a game, exciting to think about what they were up to: how crazy different is Berlin going to look the next time we are here?

 

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We just missed an accordion festival.

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Highlights for me, Der Maurer: The Wall, and the Museum downtown that shows a day in the life, in so many lives~ East Germany during the Cold War. A must see- all of it.  Next year, we will spend more time here to see this truly amazing city.

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State of Mind: American Southwest I.

Just back from a southwest US desert tour~ my annual favorite~
3 weeks driving from California to Colorado-with stops in
Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, & Nevada~

NV-Valley 4137[1]

Just back from a southwest US desert tour~ my annual favorite~

3 weeks driving from California  to Colorado-with stops in

Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, & Nevada~

playing a few shows, writing new music,

seeing friends and family along the way.

It was exhilarating, this one, more downtime

off the beaten path- in the deserts, valleys, mountains and magic places, more small towns.

More weather too, as we dodged storms to make

mountain passes in time.

Now, home- beat. A bit sick, my bags still packed, thinking

I’d do it all again

next month.

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deerNM4024More tomorrow…

A Lil’ Texas Tour- 1000 Miles of Road

Touring Texas: 1000 miles is just a lil’ Texas tour. Here are a few of the inspiring (and less than inspiring) things about being on the road.

Yes, in a state that is 268,820 sq miles (696,241 km²), driving 1000 miles is considered a ‘stone’s throw’ of a distance.  This is my 3rd time playing/touring with jazz band the Charles Hearn Quintet, and its awesome every time. Of course, like with any tour, it’s not all roses.

Great Things about Going on Tour to Play your Music out of Town:

The Regional Cuisine: TX-tiniTacos and a “Texas Margarita” with limes and olives.

txShrimpI fell in love with this place in San Antonio: Dry Dock. Oysters, shrimp, fried catfish, hushpuppies.

hou-bbqClassic Texas BBQ!

More inspiration: The Environment-

texas skies1929Aaah…those big Texas skies

Tough things about Touring Texas:

texasStateTexas is big.

6 cities of shows means we spend lots of time driving.  From the Rio Grande Valley- Harlingen, McAllen, Weslaco, Brownsville, up to the central part of the state- San Antonio, Austin…  This is why it’s only a “lil’ Texas tour”  Ha! You may cover 1000 miles, but you miss most of the state!  And so maybe next year we’ll take on new TX cities. Expand our horizons a bit.

Another tough thing about Texas- It’s just a lil’ on the hot side. 105-107f most days. Not much AC at soundcheck and load-in before each show.  It took awhile to adjust to the outdoor stages. You either melt or fry…

breakfast misunderstanding

Cool things about this Texas tour:

Tx tour-2013

The venues. The audiences! (We were happy to see full houses each night!) The musicians. It’s always hard work to roll into town, cram in a bunch o’ rehearsals and hit the road for lots of shows in a short span of time, but this group keeps it fun. I learn lots from this jazz band, the Charles Hearn Quintet, and love ’em all 😉 !!

A major awesome thing for me- visiting the DJ’s and radio stations who have been spinning Torch and Sass! (pics coming soon…)

Things that Inspire me After Tour:

My ukulele!

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The baritone is a perfect instrument on the road, like a tenor guitar. As awesome as a band is, solo is sweet too. I find myself swinging 180d to the simplest renditions of my songs when coming off the road. Now learning new 1930’s tunes with it!  And the last big inspiration of this tour…

Saxman Charles Hearn in situ:

chasStudio
An awesome band leader, producer, songwriter, musician, and all around great friend: this is Charles chillin’ in his über productive musical habitat. He & this space have made me happy hungry to get back to recording in my own space again.  Which is exactly what I’ve been up to since coming home.

That, and playing tortilla western shows locally since back in Cali. Traveling and performing like this always awakens new Muses, from jazz stages to the deserts of the southwest, again. A creative wind is coming on…

Last inspiration since coming home:

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My garden! It grew! Someone must have watered it!  I now have salad stuff, squash, tomatoes…   Good thing: I’ve gone vegetarian since all that TX BBQ 😉