Tales From The Canyon

Last week Brandi and I went to finish tracking the last of the ‘Broken Arrow’ single with Paul Wilson at his place in Laurel Canyon. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve lived in this city, I still get chills when I think about the history and stories from certain parts of LA. Whether it’s the neighborhoods Bukowski used to roll in or places where some of my favorite movies were shot. Laurel Canyon is certainly the most rich in musical history and the energy there is tangible. It’s a pretty wonderful environment to be creative in and I guess that’s why it still remains such a popular place for artists and musicians. It was a nice way to finish up these recordings which were spread out over 4 different studios.

We spent a fair amount of time working on ‘Warning Signs’ which is Brandi’s nod to some of the records that have influenced her songwriting over the years. When I was recording my backing vocals on this song I couldn’t help but thinking that the track has a very delicate, authentic 70’s feel to it so I’m really excited about sharing this record once we fix a release date. Her vocal on this song is heartbreaking, just beautiful.

‘Danger Signals’ is the flip side of this single and was the first song Brandi and I got together after promotion of my solo EP wrapped last year. It was fairly obvious when we played this song with a full band that it was time to start a band and move away from the singer/songwriter thing.

Paul Wilson & Eric McCann

Paul Wilson & Eric McCann

Eric McCann plays hypnotic bass on this song mixed with Paul Wilson’s angular, 90’s style guitars and so far that mix is working a treat for us. We’re spending the next few weeks putting a plan together for this release and as soon as we have details I’ll post them on this site.

After having said all that about moving away from the singer/songwriter thing I’ll be playing a solo show (very rare for me these days) at Malo in Silverlake, this Wednesday night (09/10). I’ll be playing with my buddies Rodney Eastman and Michael Miller. This is a free show so if you’re around please come and grab a taco or two with us. This event starts at 8.30pm. It’s always an intimate, cosy vibe at Malo so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be playing 3 new songs which I have written for my next solo record, some older songs and maybe a Matthew Teardrop cover or two.

Deejay Sean Patrick and I have been busy recently putting together some great line ups and events for our Monday nights at Harvard & Stone. This coming Monday (9/8) we have Lou Barlow playing solo and Joel Jerome and his Babies on Acid. All our events are free and this is a special solo show as Lou is away with Sebadoh pretty much the rest of the year so let’s send him off in style!

Then in October (10/6) we are having Mark Gardener (Ride) come visit us and play a mix of old and new songs. It’s been a few years since I saw Mark so I’m looking forward to seeing him and hearing his new material.

I’m also happy to announce that Harvard & Stone has been nominated in 7 categories in the “Best of LA” LA Weekly Readers Poll. We were nominated in the following categories BEST BAR FOR PEOPLE WATCHING, BEST BAR WITH LIVE MUSIC, BEST BARTENDER, JILL WEBSTER, BEST HAPPY HOUR, BEST MUSIC VENUE, BEST WHISKEY BAR, BEST MODERN COCKTAIL BAR and Sean Patrick is also down for best DJ too! If you feel up to it and would like to vote for us in any of the categories just click here and follow the instructions. To keep up to date on the shows I’m booking at Harvard & Stone just go direct to their website and check out the calender.

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God Speed & Silver Linings

HS LOGO

I’ve really been neglecting my blogging duties as of late for many reasons but the main one being that I’ve been working a lot more at Harvard & Stone lately, so apologies to anyone who might even have noticed that! I’m now booking 3 nights a week at this quality LA bar/music venue and I’m getting to see, hear and work with so many great new bands and also some well seasoned scenesters. The whole “World Cup” thing has passed me by completely. I have noticed though, this last few weeks, when people hear my accent the first question they ask is “who are you rooting for?” and in all honesty I’ve been more excited about the latest pictures of Kevin Smith crying on the set on Star Wars Episode VII or having Tashaki Miyaki come play at H&S at the end of this month to care about football! Admittedly, I’m a terrible Scotsman I don’t drink (anymore) or like football. I do however enjoy a good black pudding but that’s pretty hard to find in LA.

Last week was the official launch party for the release of ‘God Speed & Silver Linings’ by Sugarplum Fairies out on Starfish Records now. This is my record of the year so far next to ‘Lost in the Dream’ by The War on Drugs. The album was produced by Marlon Rabenreither (Gold Star, Lael Neale), mixed by Todd Burke (Belle & Sebastian, Ben Harper) and features guest performances by me and RT Valine. Silvia Ryder, who pretty much is SPF, is an old friend and I’m so happy she asked me to be involved in this project as the full record is really something quite special indeed. Silvia’s vocal on this record has developed so much since it’s predecessor and to quote ‘American Songwriter Magazine’ sounds like Nico on a double date with Leonard Cohen! There’s a whole range of different styles on this record ranging from Americana to Jazz yet it’s solidly cohesive sounding and held together perfectly by Marlon Rabenreither’s beautiful production. You can purchase this record from all good online record stores.

So, an update on Broken Arrow. We recently finished our run of shows at The Hotel Cafe and have started to record our first two singles which we hope to have finished by August. We really did have such a great time during the residency and thank you everyone who came down to support us.

Tommy Schobel

Tommy Schobel

We had a new line up for these shows including Tommy Schobel (who played with Brandi in The Fox Must Pay) on drums and Paul Wilson from Snow Patrol on guitar. Paul’s out here in LA right now and though we shared many adventures in the past I’d not seen him in years so it’s been great catching up not to mention playing music together. Paul and Tommy did such a great job so thanks from Eric, Brandi and myself for helping us out.

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson

Brandi and I also did a little run of promotion to help with these shows including a 2 hour interview with 5 songs live for Suicide Girls Radio. This was definitely a new one for me as these straight talking ladies gave me a radio experience I’ll never forget! It’s certainly not the BBC but hey, that’s not a bad thing! If you would like to hear acoustic versions of some of our new songs or better still watch me sweat profusely for 2 hours you can watch it here! The whole thing was filmed so I’m definitely looking forward to my Mum and Dad hearing me share about my extensive knowledge of uncircumcised penises.

Brandi & I will be returning to The Hotel Cafe as a duo on July 24th opening for Fred Page from the UK.

Once we get our record finished we will be announcing more dates and release news. In the meantime Brandi and I are continuing to write some more new material together. Keep checking this site for updates on Broken Arrow.

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Broken Arrow: Hotel Cafe Residency June 11th

Broken Arrow_hotel cafe_june11

It’s just after noon on the 15th of May, it’s 100 degrees outside (so I’m not leaving the house today) and it’s the day after the first Hotel Cafe Residency show for Broken Arrow. It was such a great night, Lou Barlow was magnificent as were Gold Star and Tara Fox not to mention the fact we were pretty happy with how we performed also. We were a little nervous as Brandi and I had just finished writing 5 of these songs 2 weeks ago in our little cave in Silverlake. It all turned out fine in the end. Take a look at my post for the May 28th show at Hotel Cafe which is followed by an Indie 103 session on the May 29th. I am now super excited to announce the line up for our final show on June 11th.

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

I first met Ben Lee when I was a young whipper snapper playing in a band called ‘astrid’. Our first European tour was with Ben when he released his ‘Breathing Tornados’ album in 1998. It was a pretty amazing tour and that record was never off the tour bus for a long time after that. A few years ago, after I moved to LA, I met Ben at my regular Yoga class (yes, this is very LA) and it was really nice to reconnect with him after all these years! He is an incredible talent and a true gentleman so we are all really excited about Ben jumping on the bill for the big Hotel Cafe Finale!

Jason Keary

Jason Keary

Jason Keary is a songwriter from Nashville. His self produced “Another Bird Here Has Flown” EP came out last year and was mixed by Clay Jones (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello and Counting Crows). Jason contacted me earlier this year and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I’m really looking forward to finally meeting him and hearing the songs I love from his EP. We will also be doing a song together so that’ll be fun too!

Skin & Bones is a folk/blues duo with hints of alt country and bluegrass. This cocktail of genres makes for an explosive live performance. I was recently turned on to these young lads by Silvia Ryder from Sugarplum Fairies and I loved what I heard. The duo consists of Taylor Borsuk and Peter Blackwelder. I recently had them come play at my Monday night at Harvard & Stone and they blew the room away! Really looking forward to seeing Skin & Bones play again!

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Broken Arrow: Hotel Cafe Residency May 28th

I’ve been having a rare old time these past few weeks collaborating on other projects for 2014. I recently recorded with my friend Silvia Ryder from Sugarplum Fairies and we did a cover of ‘Moment of Fame’ originally by Son Of The Velvet Rat. The song is going to be featured on the new Sugarplum Fairies long player, ‘Godspeed & Silver Linings’ due for release May 27th. The song was premiered on BBC Radio 1 Scotland by my old friend Roddy Hart last week. I’m so happy with how this collaboration turned out and you can listen to the track here. Silvia and I are talking about working on more material later this year so I look forward to that when it happens.

Sugarplum Fairies

Sugarplum Fairies

The Second night of the residency at Hotel Cafe (May 28th) is now confirmed and I’m pleased to announce our guests for this date…..

Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams is an American songwriter and musical legend. Brandi and I met Victoria at a house party in Yucca Valley when we all played in a mutual friends front room. I’ve seen Victoria perform several times since then and have been spellbound every time by her unique voice and incredible songwriting. She is also an absolute darling! In 2006 Victoria was ranked #89 on Paste magazine’s list of the Top 100 Living Songwriters. Although her debut album, Happy Come Home was released in 1987, Victoria was largely overlooked until artists like Soul Asylum, Lou Reed, Evan Dando, The Jayhawks and Pearl Jam recorded her songs for the 1993 Sweet Relief tribute/benefit album, the proceeds helped cover Victoria’s medical expenses in her battle against multiple sclerosis. We are very honored to have Victoria play with us at The Hotel Cafe.

Miranda Lee Richards

Miranda Lee Richards

I’m so happy to have Miranda Lee Richards come back and play with us at Hotel Cafe again. Miranda has been playing at some of my events round LA recently and playing songs form her forthcoming album which sounds absolutely incredible. Miranda got her professional start in the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and that led to her subsequent appearance in seminal documentary DIG! Miranda landed a record deal with Virgin Records, who released her debut album, The Herethereafter, in 2001. Since it’s release, Miranda has collaborated in the studio or on stage with Tricky, Tim Burgess (Charlatans), Neil Halstead (Mojave Three), Tyler Hilton, Harper Simon, the Jesus and Mary Chain and The Lovetones.

Georg Altziebler

Georg Altziebler

Georg Altziebler is the front man of Austrian starlets, Son Of The Velvet Rat. Georg has collaborated with Lucinda Williams amongst others over the years and has created a unique style and sound with SOTVR’s beautiful poetry and music. We’ve played a lot of shows together this year but Georg had to go back home to Austria recently so I was delighted when he let me know he’d be back in town for this show. Always a pleasure to share the stage with ‘The Rats’.

DJ Sean Patrick will be taking care of our ears between bands and tickets for all 3 nights are priced at $10.

The rest of my time has been spent with Brandi Emma getting a set of brand new material ready for the first show at Hotel Cafe on May 14th. Tickets went on sale this week and can be bought via The Hotel Cafe website.

I will be announcing the June 11th line up very soon.

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Broken Arrow: Hotel Cafe Residency May 14th

hotel cafe may14_final

Broken Arrow is the new project I started with Brandi Emma several months ago. The whole concept came about after promoting my solo EP from last year and we both started writing together. I am pleased to announce that we will be showcasing our new material and launching this project properly over a 3 night residency at The Hotel Cafe (May 14th, May 28th & June 11th). I will be announcing full line ups for each individual date over the coming weeks but here is a little bit about our guests for May 14th……

Lou Barlow

Lou Barlow

I grew up listening to Dinosaur JR, Sebadoh and all things Lou Barlow. When I was about 21 my old band (astrid) opened for Lou at Glasgow’s legendary Nice ‘N’ Sleazys. He did a 3 night solo residency and my friends and I set up camp in the pub for 3 days and nights! Words can’t even express how excited we all are to have Lou perform with us.

Gold Star

Gold Star

Gold Star is a new project from Marlon Rabenreither. I’ve known Marlon since I first moved to LA over 3 years ago and started booking shows around town. His other project, The Sister Ruby Band, were undoubtedly the standout act from any night I booked. His songs are old beyond his years and Gold Star have since gone on to stir up a lot of buzz in this town. We are very happy to have Marlon and his band join us during our residency.

Tara Fox

Tara Fox

I recently got introduced to the music of Tara Fox, funnily enough, through Marlon from Gold Star. I had both bands come and play my night at Harvard & Stone. Tara is an extremely talented songwriter and performer and we all look forward to seeing her with her full band at Hotel Cafe.

DJ Sean Patrick

DJ Sean Patrick

In between all these wonderful artists performing we will have DJ Sean Patrick spinning and keeping changeovers vibrant! Sean is a good friend and my co-host/resident DJ from Harvard & Stone Monday Nights. We’re all looking forward to seeing what Sean has in store for this residency and very grateful for him sharing his talents to make these nights extra special.

Keep an eye out for more news on The Hotel Cafe residency.

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And The Rain Came Down

After nearly 3 years of drought in Los Angeles the rain finally came down in abundance this week, it’s been rather quite nice and very much needed. I’ve fallen out of rhythm with my blog posts recently so now the rains on and The Oscars are over it’s probably a good time to sit down and write an update.

Last month Brandi Emma and I launched our new project ‘Broken Arrow’ at the world famous Hotel Cafe. We played with Miranda Lee Richards, Son Of The Velvet Rat and Rachel Goodrich. We had an incredible night and for those of you reading this who came, thank you very much indeed. I am pleased to announce we have been asked to do a Hotel Cafe residency starting May 14th and ending June 11th so, click on the shows section of this site for more details. We are going to have some very special guests and friends joining us over these 3 special dates and we will be doing something different for each night so more news on that soon.

The Hotel Cafe was followed by a show (minus Brandi this time) at Malo in Silverlake where we were joined by Michelle Vidal, Matt Van Winkle and Son Of The Velvet Rat.

Next Saturday, March 9th, I’ll be heading back out to the desert to play a solo show with Tracey Newman, Broken Arrows very own Matt Van Winkle and dear friends Son Of The Velvet Rat. We are all performing an early show that is part of a monthly songwriters-in-the-round event at the Radio Free Joshua Tree Listening Lounge curated by Phillip Rosenberg.

Later this month I’m doing a live webshow on Concert Window, which starts at 4:00pm EDT on March 23. I’ll performing the ‘Feel Something’ EP in it’s entirety and also playing some new songs. I’ll be joined by Brandi Emma, Eric McCann, Joel Patterson and Matt Van Winkle for this performance.

The next Broken Arrow gig before our residency at Hotel Cafe will be at Harvard & Stone on March 24th. I’ve been lucky enough to have started working there this year and I’ve been working with some really talented local bands. This show on the 24th will be the final date with Son Of The Velvet Rat before they head back over to Austria for a few months. It’s been a treat to play so many shows together and we promise to give them a special send off. Check out their new record ‘Firedancer’, you will not be disappointed.

I’ll be doing a solo show with Tall Tales & The Silver Lining in Ventura at Bombay on March 28th.

In other news Matt Van Winkle who plays guitar and sings with Broken Arrow released his own fantastic new record, Sunshine National Dust, last week and I was lucky enough to make it to his shows at The Standard in Hollywood and record release party at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park last Friday. Check out Matt’s record it’s a cracker!

In between working, playing and writing I managed to start demoing some new material which I’ll be posting on Soundcloud. I’ve put one new song up so far, ‘I Always Need To Remember‘ and I’m finishing another just now called ‘Chain Smoking Cigarettes’ which should be up later this week. More news soon.

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Yucca Valley & The Hotel Cafe

Last Saturday I went out to the desert to play a show with the band in Yucca Valley. The show was curated by our friends Georg and Heike from Son of the Velvet Rat and the event was held in their home. I headed out a day early with my wife and we hired a little cabin in 29 Palms about 30 mins drive from Yucca Valley in the heart of the hi desert.

For this Scottish boy it was quite the adventure. Having grown up in one of the most remote parts of Scotland I immediately felt a sense of familiarity when we left Los Angeles, hit the highway and ventured into vast, open territory. It’s so beautiful in such a unique way words can’t describe it because it’s a feeling you get when you’re out there.

Mitch (my wife) and I relaxed and enjoyed our rental the day before the show, hot tubbing under the moon, star gazing and looking out over Joshua Tree national park when we woke.

Photo by Heike Binder-Altziebler

Photo by Heike Binder-Altziebler

The day of the show we had a pre gig barbeque with Matt Van Winkle and Celeste Bacchi before meeting the rest of the band at the venue. Matt played a solo set to open the show followed by music from Phillip Rosenberg, Ted Quinn. The house was full and the atmosphere was incredible. We took to the living room floor stage and played a set including 3 of our new songs, ‘Danger Signals’, ‘The Things I find’ and ‘Tell It To Your Friends’ plus 3 songs of ‘Feel Something’. People were dancing and seemed to be singing along so I think we did a good job.

Victoria Williams

Victoria Williams

After we finished Victoria Williams played a set with her band. Such a great performance and what an honor to play with such an accomplished musician and songwriter. You could hear a pin drop when she played! The show ended with The Out of Towners playing a wonderful and rockin’ set, they even had our hosts for the evening come up and close the night with a rendition of ‘Dead Flowers’. A great weekend, thank you Georg and Heike.

Feb 5th will be the first offical LA performance of my new (kind of) project with Brandi Emma, Broken Arrow.

Charlie Clark & Brandi Emma

The band is Eric McCann, Joel Patterson, Matt Van Winkle, myself and Brandi. Our name was taken from a song of a previous solo record Brandi did called ‘Photographic Memory’. The venue for this show is The Hotel Cafe and the line up for the night is pretty damn good even if I do say so myself.

Miranda Lee Richards

Miranda Lee Richards

Miranda Lee Richards is opening the night with her band at 9pm. I first saw Miranda play 2 years ago at The Clean Air Festival held at Pappy & Harriets in Pioneer Town (back out in the desert funnily enough). It was about 2am and she performed a delicate and haunting show that has always remained a musical highlight for me since moving here. It’s an absolute pleasure to play with Miranda and I’m really looking forward to seeing her again.

Son of the Velvet Rat

Son of the Velvet Rat

Broken Arrow will play at 10pm followed by Son of the Velvet Rat. We’ve been playing some shows together and really just enjoying the creative flow of working together. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing songs from their new record ‘Firedancer’ which everyone should buy! I’ve watched SOTVR win over audiences round LA over the last year so it’s always great to do shows together.

Rachel Goodrich

Rachel Goodrich

Closing the night will be old friend and possibly the best guitar player I’ve seen since moving to LA, Rachel Goodrich. We played together at The Standard in Hollywood years ago. Rachel was a regular performer at my night at Taix and we’ve been good pals ever since. Rachel will be the perfect end to the night as her latest band, The Grrrls, have been blowing peoples minds round Echo Park recently.

It’s $8 well spent and you can buy tickets in advance here. Hope to see some of you there.

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Don’t Let Me Down Premiere

 Shoot by Alex Kinnan

Happy new year folks! I thought it’s about time I should post something before the month hits double digits. There’s been a lot of things going on so far in 2014 and for me the holidays seem like a distant memory right now.

This week saw the US and UK premieres for the ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ video directed by Paul Orehovec. ‘DLMD’ is the third in a series of videos Paul has shot for the Feel Something EP. I was lucky enough to have American Songwriter Magazine host the US Premiere and punk legend and old friend John Robb took care of business back in the UK with his ‘Louder Than War‘ blog sharing the videos debut.

We will have the video up on Youtube and on my site by the end of the week but you can watch it here advert free on Vimeo!

IMG_4211

So far the response has been really incredible, so thank you all who have supported the video with all your tweets and shares etc. I just want to thank everyone who worked on the video, Brandi Emma, Jeffrey O’Connell, Eric McCann, Chris Patridge, Matthew Merkovich, Meredith Oritt, Lauren Carraway, Giammario Villa, Jeff Field, MTI Film, Larry Chernoff, Barbara Marshall, Michelle Mondragon, Alex Kinnan and most of all Paul Orehovec for putting this all together. Looking forward to shooting the next one!

Next up this year is a special ‘Mad For Sadness’ event in Yucca Valley on 01/18 hosted by good pals ‘Son of the Velvet Rat’, it’s a full band show and also a nice warm up for our first show at The Hotel Cafe on 02/05 when Brandi and I will be announcing some news for the year ahead. The line up for that show is Son of the Velvet Rat, Miranda Lee Richards and Rachael Goodrich and the Grrrl.

I played a solo show last week at Lot 1 Cafe curated by Rebecca Balin and hosted by the ‘Feed Your Head’ people. Brad Roberts was kind enough to review the night which you can view here.

More news and show announcements coming over the next few weeks.

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2014: Year Of The Green Horse

Last Wednesday night Brandi, Matthew and I performed our last show together for the year as part of the Desert Nights series at The Standard in Hollywood. Thanks to everyone who came out for the show and thanks once again to Valida Carroll for having us.

Valida Carroll

Valida Carroll

I think this was probably the sixth or seventh time Brandi and I have done this show and it’s always one of our favorite nights in LA to play. We played with Cristina Black and Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls. A fine night was had by all.

It may have been the last show of the year but we’ll be getting together right after the holidays to start working on all the new material we have. We’re really excited about getting a new live set of material together as well as getting some of these new songs recorded when Eric McCann comes back from touring.

Like with most of the shows this year the incredibly talented Alex Kinnan was on hand to document the evening with his beautiful photography. A very warm thank you to Alex from myself, Brandi, Matthew, Eric and Joel for all his hard work this year. He must be sick of hearing the EP by now, I know I am!

I have another Blog coming before the years out with more news, video ETA and shows to announce for next year but last week I was working on some very exciting projects for 2014. Friends Georg and Heike from Son of the Velvet Rat have been coming through to LA from their place in Yucca Valley. We are planning on doing a special ‘Mad For Sadness’ event out that way at the beginning of next year which Georg is doing most of the organizing and preparation for. More news on that and full line up to be announced soon. We will be keeping the first event small so as we can ‘figure it all out’ and maybe look at doing it again shortly after that. ‘Mad For Sadness’, in the desert, makes sense to me.

Georg & Heike

Georg & Heike

Next week I’ll be going into the studio to do some vocals for Hélène Renaut‘ new record. She is recording with my long time musical collaborator, Yohei Shikano. I’ve known Hélène for sometime now and I’m a big fan of her material so it’s very nice to be asked to work on this project.

Hélène Renaut

Hélène Renaut

I’m also happy to announce that from the beginning of next year I will be working with my buddy, DJ Sean Patrick and the lovely folks at Harvard and Stone to book bands for their Monday nights.

DJ Sean Patrick

DJ Sean Patrick

Sean has established the night for sometime now and is the resident DJ for Mondays. It’s a really good vibe not to mention a solid venue to see live music in. My mind is already overloading with thoughts of who I’d like to see playing there over the coming months. A good start to 2014.

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Desert Nights

Charlie Clark & Brandi Emma

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the rain has finally come. I’ve spent much of the last 48 hours eating turkey, pumpkin pie and listening to Townes Van Zandt. I suppose I’ll be rehearsing with Brandi later on today and getting our set together for the final LA show this year. Next Wednesday night (12/4) we’ll be performing as part of the Desert Nights series at The Standard Hotel in Hollywood. Desert Nights is hosted by our friend and long time supporter KCRW DJ, Valida Carroll. It’s a free, all ages show and Brandi, Matthew and I will be doing our thing at around 7.30pm so if you’re around come along!

I’ll be doing one more solo show on the 15th Dec at Hillbilly Hip in Topanga. I love going out that way as it’s lush, green and beautiful, so playing is a bonus as well as getting to meet and hang out with some colorful rural folks!

This week I’ll also be getting together with filmmaker Paul Orehovec to view a cut of the ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ video, so hopefully we’ll finally be putting that out to the world as soon as we can. There is even rumblings of shooting a video for ‘Grateful’ before the years out so more news on that soon. Happy Holidays!

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