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Rewind 2005
posted: 03/27/07

Let's have a look at the year*, shall we?

Highlights, headlines, miscellany. From the archives.

  • In January of 2005 we rang in the New Year with one my oldest and closest friends, Adam. He and his family are always in our thoughts. It was great fun showing Adam around Maine, and on that holiday, while driving aimlessly around the hundreds of inlets that make up the jagged coastline, we discovered what is now one of our haunts: Cook's Lobster. Need a lobster the size of a very fat cat? Cook's has you covered. And they also serve Maudite. Go thee.
  • January to February had me out getting a few sticks in the ice (or, alternatively, none - the outings were more canoeing than climbing, now that I recall clearly), and doing lots of planking on frost-covered bumps here and there. This was my first full winter as a Mainer. I broke two shovels. It snows a bit here.
  • In late-February a monkey flew out of my butt.
  • March brought The Return of Brian. And we had one of our best trips [so far]. Not only did I discover new ways to pay for a pot of tea, I crapped in my own pants. It just doesn't get any better than that.
  • Oh, and then I did this one ski tour that made Brian really jealous. Which is so cool.
  • It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed. In case you missed that.
  • Once it was done snowing entrirely, because I am a very smart man, I bought a snow blower. In retrospect, I have no idea how I managed a winter without it (though I would get to wait until the next winter to have the opportunity to draw this conclusion). There are 70+ warning stickers on it advising NOT TO STICK YOUR HEAD IN IT FOR CHRISSAKE.
  • Just after St. Patty's Day, Adam came back up and we did a High Peaks Traverse in a little less than two days, in winter. Adam lost all of his toenails in the process, but you have to remember what's important. And it ain't toenails. Though we have nothing against toenails.
  • In very-early-April I took a secret flight to London. I was met at Heathrow and driven by chauffeur to the Royal Albert Hall, where The Police were doing a one-night, private reunion performance. They played me "some new stuff they'd been working on," as well as, you know, the hits. Stewart even managed to convince Sting to play some Klark Kent stuff. But then, at the end of the night, when I was knocking back a few pints with the boys at the hotel bar, Andy began to nervously shake his head and mutter under his breath. I asked what was up and he said to the three of us: "It's just not working for me, chaps." And then he was gone. Sting and Stewart asked if I'd be interested in working with them, filling the void, so to speak. I explained that I really don't have any electric chops, sorry. As such, a reunion project is on hold.
  • In mid-April I locked myself away and began work on my second album, Across the Bridge. I managed to record 15 tunes in 3 days. I'd soon add three more.
  • But first, it would rain a whole, whole bunch. Weather is sort of a theme here, I'm finding.
  • In early May it stopped raining for an hour and I recorded a very important piece to honor the memory of my friend Sean Layton. It is titled, aptly, "Between the Rains," and I continue to play it at shows and talk about Sean and how he made me laugh, and still does.
  • And then I got sort of run over with last-minute planning - mostly having to do with programs and placecards - for just about the very most special-est day of my life, a'yuh.
  • Got married to the love of my life, Kristin, on 14 May 2005. And I have never been happier. You are my Anam Cara.
  • Went to Kaua'i. It did not suck.
  • Came back home and recorded two ukulele tunes that I wrote in a morning on the island: "Pukana la Kalalea" (Mt. Kalalea Sunrise) and "Mele Ho'oluluhi" (Lullabye). The latest is dedicated to Lauren Abigail Connors, born a few months later, in August, to Brian and Jennifer, also of the Connors. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
  • Had a face transplant on June 1st. Been on the run from the law for some time, thought it would be prudent at this juncture. Yes, I was actually the first to have the procedure done, but I like to keep things on the down-low. I may have just screwed that, however. Woops.
  • Still recovering from surgery, in early June I headed in to New York for a weekend to do a photo shoot for the new record, ably handled by the uber-cool husband-wife team of Cabot Philbrick and Lorca Shepperd. And also, once again, my bud Adam. Thanks all.
  • In mid-June I got on a plane, made a stopover in Northern Virginia where I hung with friends and co-workers, got to see The Trio (Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty) and Jake Shimabukuro at Wolf Trap, then got on another plane and flew down to Asheville, where I worked with Al Petteway to put the finishing touches on Across the Bridge. We had very little time - just a few days - but everything came together incredibly quickly. It was one of the great thrills of my life, truly, to work with Al and to hang out with his lovely, talented and incredibly supportive wife Amy White at Fairewood Studios in the mountains of western North Carolina. I've said it many times but I'll say it again. Al is the reason the record came together, and I can't imagine anyone with whom I'd rather work. Al absolutely played his ass off on the record, and his skill with the mixey bits is a sight - and sound - to behold. Thanks Al and Amy!
  • A week or so later I rented a car and drove up to Canada (the guy at the rental agency, when I explained that I'd basically be going to Toronto: "Let me ask you honestly... are you planning on coming back?") to attend the second annual Canadian Guitar Festival, organized by circus strong-man Del Vezeau. A very, very good time, in which I met the very talented luthier Mike Greenfield, my heroes Don Ross (and his rockin' wife Brooke Miller) and Pierre Bensusan, among many, many other great players. Oh, and it rained like hell. And mosquitoes drained my body of blood. And I freaked out at two semi-naked guys in the room next door at 3am at my hotel. But not before, on the latest, I met Rob Poland of CANdYRAT Records, who really would eventually actually call me back, surprisingly enough.
  • August had us winging out to the left, to the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, which was groovy but way, way crowded. While there I saw a great many super players and friends, including Don and Brooke again, Michael Chapdelaine, Steve Baughman, Muriel Anderson, and many others I'm too memory-deficient to call out. Thanks to a very kind host in the person of David Moore, he, Wade Thurman, Ace Batacan, Jim Tozier and I played a house concert in conjunction with the festival. It was one of the highlights of the year to play a duet with Jim, who joined me on "Peggy Gordon." A beautiful trip. A big and special shout-out to my pals Em and Bruce, who trekked in from Oakland to listen. We'll see you again! Oh, and the wine...
  • Let me devote this item to wine, then. I've been meaning to do this. Here are some of the best wines I had this year. Keep in mind that I drink wine. I don't collect it. Yes, I have a small cellar in the basement. But nothing survives down there for more than a year, two max. I'm a huge fan of reds, particularly pinot noir, syrah, a few Chilean, Italian and French wines, and I do occasionally quaff a nice, dry white. Or a sweet one, depending. Once again, since I drink the stuff, I'm about value. Here we go. Best glass of the year: Paul Mathew 2003 Pinot Noir, Wili's wine bar, Santa Rosa. Best bottle opened at home: tough call but I'm going with St. Innocent 2002 Pinot Noir. Runner-up: Wild Horse Vineyards 2001 Pinot Noir. Best and most consistent vintner for the money: Cline Vineyards. I have been bowled over by their Ancient Vines Mourvedre, their Pinot Gris, Viognier, and their 2003 Syrah is a total knockout, and all very reasonably priced. Don't tell anyone. Best inexpensive bottle of Pinot Noir: Camelot. I get about 6 bottles at a time at the local grocery. And for that matter, snap up some of their chard and sauvignon blanc. You can't really go wrong. Best value in Côtes du Rhône: Perrin, though the Parallel 45 is fine, too. A good, consistent cabernet sauvignon: Los Vascos (it's Lafite! - you gotta qualify). A good, interesting importer you should seek out: Origin. We've sampled their Malbec, Tempranillo, Rioja, and a few others, and they're all quite good and reasonably priced. Most overpriced wine: just about any Barolo. I sorta don't get it. I've been wanting to try some but the cheapest bottle I've found was ~$30, and it goes up (way up) from there. I finally found some $14 per bottle barolo and bought three bottles. It tastes of dirt (ah, terroir) and is very, very average. Give me an Acacia or Steele pinot noir any day. Or anything from Williamette. Heck, give me a Camelot. Wine I'm most looking forward to drinking on our anniversary in May 2006: Etude Pinot Noir 2001.
  • Where was I?
  • August. Right. Al handed the mix for Across the Bridge over to Bill at Wolf Productions and Bill got all sorcerer on it. Bill is - yes, I have said it before, but it's true - the best. He did brilliant work. Thanks Bill!
  • I was all happy and stuff, and then the Gulf Coast was battered by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent storms. Simply overwhelming. Through the auspices of CDBaby, thousands of musicians banded together to raise money for relief. In total, musicians raised $165,000 through CD sales turned donations. CDBaby kicked in another $40,000, for a total of $205,000. A most sincere thank you to everyone who bought my music during this time of tragedy and in so doing contributed to relief efforts. It was good to be able to do something, anything, to help. Keep in mind that it's not over, by any stretch of the imagination, for those living on the Gulf Coast, or who have been relocated. Help is still needed, and here's a list of organizations to whom you can [still] contribute. Yes, there have been scams. Be careful.
  • I paid $3.50 a gallon for gas in early September.
  • Not long after I was left all on my lonesome. In desperation, I taught myself to cook - with the help of Anthony Bourdain. What do I cook? Mostly cow. It's moo-rific. I don't dine out much anymore, but I will confess I'm very much looking forward to visiting Les Halles in New York next Spring. Food, yes, it is sex. It took me a very long time to figure that out.
  • In October I did what I hope is my last move for a very, very long while. I finally have a dedicated home office and a dedicated home studio, and hopefully never again shall the twain meet. All those doo-dads and twangy-dahs are way too distracting to have in one [cramped] room. Lately I've been putting together loads of IKEA furniture for both rooms. It kønjda sükß. But again, I time travel.
  • Right around Halloween James Jensen at Acoustic Music Resource added my music to his catalog, and for this I thank him muchly. James has had a very good thing going for more than a decade. Check him out!
  • There was something in the news about the Bush Administration maybe having screwed up a little over the last, um, all of it. Something about approval ratings being down a little. Or something. I tend not to dwell on these things. Fortunately, EVERYONE ELSE DOES, and rightly so. Oh, and JUST IN TIME FOR A SECOND TERM, you idiots. Unfortunately, it seems criminal acts won't get you impeached. Now, just remember, blowjobs will. Sending thousands of young soldiers to their deaths in a trumped up, no-win "war" won't. Bungling aid for the worst natural disaster in the country's history won't. Nominating your cronies to the Supreme Court surely won't. Guess it must be the Vice-Dark Lord Cheney keeping sanity at bay ("Rrrrrrrrrr! Sense-making! Truth! Away! Rrrrrrrrrrr!"). There's a special corner of Hell awaiting all of your tong, rest assured. Fortunately for you and sadly for us, you're all [evidently] constructed entirely of Tyvek.
  • In November I released my most personal record to date, Across the Bridge. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you for your support of this most special collection of music. It's been a dream, truly. Now realized.
  • Shortly after the record came out, CANdYRAT Records signed me. Thanks so much to Rob and all of the incredible folks on the label. I'm way psyched for the future.
  • December has brought some great local gigs. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the shows. Look for new dates in 2006. I'm really stoked to get out and play more, especially since David at Berkowitz Guitars and I have started to scheme on something new. The month has also come around as my first Holiday Season with my full-on wife and that's been way cool. We had a super time with the family this X-Mas and we're gearing up for a nice, if a little quiet (and that is so fine) New Year. We've had a great 365, and we'd like to say thank you once more to all of our friends and loved ones for being there with us every step of the way.


We'll see you real soon.

*Some of these things actually happened.

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Last updated, fixified, or otherwise jiggered: 03/27/07.