The new year is creeping right up on us!  Since my last blog I've made a loop around California and then flew back to Ohio.  Here's a look at the last month starting with another campfire jam in the desert with my friend Roger.  Photo credit: Michelle Hamilton

 

Around Thanksgiving I took a drive up to the lovely redwoods in the Bay Area...

 

 

I got to spend Thanksgiving day with my cousins up in Burlingame, CA.  Seeing these two cuties was refreshing.  Their mom, Meghan, is an amazing fabric artist, crafter, preschool teacher, and entrepreneur.  Check out her blog at https://meghanmakesdo.com

 

I also had a visit with my friends up in Sonoma County.  They were close to the big fires up there, but thankfully none were in the direct path.  Traveling through the area was pretty shocking.  The massive amount land burned and people affected is hard to take in. This is a vineyard in Sebastopol that was untouched by the fire.

 

Out on the Sonoma Coast we caught one of those sunsets that just wouldn't stop.  I'll go back to this evening on the beach in my mind when I need a little inspiration sometime.  

 

 

 

Here's a view from a farm I use to WWOOF on years ago.

 

I headed back to The Ranch where there was plenty of wood to stack and restack.  Being on The Ranch was a nice balance of catching up on next year's booking, doing some physical labor, and visiting with the revolving cast of characters that populate the unique place.   Timbo found this chair on the side of the road and told me it could be my queen's chair.  I asked him to put it on top of this years wood pile.

 

Inside the house, since there is no shortage of wood to burn, we burn it.  I spent plenty of time here staring at the flames.  I highly recommend this meditative activity.

 

Lancaster, CA is a high desert climate in the Antelope Valley.  I loved daily hikes around the area.  I'd see coyotes, ravens, Joshua Trees, and always Tumbleweeds.  "See them them tumbling down, pledging their love to the ground..."

 

This Creosote Bush is over 800 years old.  There's my friend Bird Bob for scale...

 

From here we could see the smoke from the L.A. fires on the horizon.  The closest one was about 30 miles away and we watched the news daily to see the developments.  It's a strange feeling to be so close to something to powerfully destructive and know that people there are having their lives threatened just over the mountain while you are cozy by a wood stove.  

 

All of the particles in the air often made for some shockingly colorful sunsets.

 

 

The ravens in the west are so vocal and social.  They rattle, call, and make percussive songs in the trees.  Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon they gather their closest 50 friends together and just ride the thermals up to the atmosphere.  Here's a little series of ravens in black and white...

 

Then I rode some of my own thermals from L.A. to Detroit.  

 

I had a visit with my family and we explored the land of ice and snow along the shores of Lake Erie.

 

Then I headed to Athens, Ohio to play some gigs, see some friends, visit Blue Eagle Music, and housesit for the holidays.

 

Concert at Casa Nueva with my friend Chris Biester.  Photo credit: Phil Lanning

Happy new year to everyone! 

 

 

 

Above is a video featuring some clips from places I've hiked and camped in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  Below are some photos of the past month.  I spent about 3 weeks straight living in my tent out in the desert.  I wrote, played my guitar, looked at the stars, hiked up canyons, and spit a little sand.  It was truly rewarding and refreshing.  This year has been so busy, and I finally allowed  myself to soak it all in.  And even though I didn't have too many "real" gigs this month, I have played more than ever at parties, jams, and around campfires...

 

My tent is in the lower left of this panorama shot... 

 

Grinding stones from tribal peoples...

 

Petroglyphs...

 

 

 

Canyon walls... 

 

 

 

A most excellent campsite...

 

Ravens' nests on the cliffs...

 

A closer look at the ravens' nests...

 

Dragonfly... 

 

Burros...

 

And then I took a trip to a friend's farm in Southern California.  There were lots of fruit trees in fruit.  Avacados, Persimmons, Kumquats, Cherimoya, Oranges, Jelly Palm, Guavas, Pomegranates... 

 

 

The fertile orchards are such a stark contrast to the desert...

 

Sunrise...

 

 

Sometimes I like to climb up on my minivan...

 

 Now I'm back at The Ranch playing catch up with emails and booking in-between stacking firewood...

 

My friend Timbo took this photo at The Ranch in the morning light...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this week.  I hope you are all finding some gratitude in your life!  I am thankful everyday to be here on this earth; writing songs, stacking firewood, sleeping in a van, meeting new people, sharing food, breathing, walking, singing... on and on.

Thank you for reading the blog.

 

 

Greetings from the Canyon Tour!

17 days and 3000 miles on the road and all is well.  I've had some time to reconnect with some friends across the country and play some shows ranging from intimate house concerts to crowded breweries to quiet campfires.  It all started in Chicago...

 

 

 

The summer is wrapping up in Ohio.  The bittersweet pull of the road is tugging on my tires.  I have a brand new album, a brand new old van, and a list of places to go...

 

Another summer has come and brought opportunities to co-write with kids at local libraries and camps.  Most of these songs have come from less than 2 hours of being together.  In that time we have a crash course in melody, creative writing, song parts, and teamwork...

 

 

I've been using the word "support" so much lately.  Once I launched the Kickstarter campaign I had to start asking folks for their support.  It's big and scary to set a goal, make it public, and ask for help.  Everyone is watching and there are so many stigmas about asking for help, especially when you're asking for money.  

 

 

 

 

For the past few months I've been writing, working on guitars, and resting up a bit.  I've been recovering from a case of tendinitis in my wrists since November.  I've sought advice from massage therapists, osteopaths, and patient house plants...

Read on for wild softball game in the desert and a giant rock in the road...

 

 

Happy December everyone!  I'm nesting in Ohio for most of the winter.  I've done so much traveling this year that staying in one spot feels like a great new adventure. 

There's a new album in the works, and for now I offer up this single. "That's Enough"...

...

 

 

After many miles, I am happy to report that I have played some great shows, driven some long hours, seen some beautiful places, and safely landed back in Ohio...

wild horses, oceans, deserts

...

 

 

Beautiful places, spontaneous events, and lovely people...  

 

 

hippie busses and more!

...

 

 

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