Hello again friends and cyber-neighbors!
We enjoyed a few days of Indian Summer this week, which added a nice touch to Thanksgiving. Still sunny and bright today but fall is definitely on the way. Temperatures during the day are in the low Celsius double digit range and nights are chilly. But enough of weather, a subject with which Canadians are weirdly obsessed…
First of all, the latest CT scan. I got the results last week. Nothing dramatic but there are small changes. The tumors continue to reduce in size and my treatments (35 is the latest count) continue to have little effect on me. I’m staying busy and these days, so is Maggie. She is now a veteran of many bus tours and is making the best of this month’s opportunities. After October she’ll have no more tours until June. From all reports she’s doing very well, making good tips and winning praise and learning to sort through the unexpected wrinkles…like tours where some of the people don’t speak English.
I’ve been taking in lots of music. A couple of weeks back I traveled with the Hunts to Moncton where we heard Terri Clark perform at the Casino. She did a fine job and I admired the Casino’s auditorium; first time I’ve been there. I got to spend a bit of time with one of my favorite Nashville couples, RyLee Madison and Clay Krasner. Clay plays bass in Terri’s band.
Last night Maggie and I went to the Imperial Theatre to hear Travis Tritt. The Imperial is the local posh soft seater, holds about 850, and Travis had the place packed with an acoustic show…just him and his guitar. I didn’t realize just how good a musician he is, which is helpful when you’re listening to two hours of one voice, one instrument. He was excellent and turns out to be a superb raconteur, relating great stories about his early days in Nashville, meeting his heroes Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and being the longhaired outlaw member of the so-called “class of ’89.” Nova Scotia troubadour Ryan Cook opened for Travis with a fine set of quirky, one-of-a-kind songs. I’ve become a big Ryan Cook fan since moving here. What he’s doing is almost totally off the commercial radio-hungry map but, like a young Roger Miller or John Prine, he makes it cool, even a bit sexy. I think he’s going places.
Speaking of Nashville, and speaking of Miller, I had a song recorded there at the beginning of the week with Dean Miller (Roger’s son and a singer-songwriter in his own right) at the helm. The artist was Kaitlyn Baker, a 16-year-old from Virginia with whom we’ve been acquainted for several years. Kaitlyn, who sang “I Wanna Live Like That” at my benefit last year, is pretty as a picture, smart and focused, and jaw-droppingly talented. And she’s a fan of our songs, bless her heart. I’ve been doing some Skype writing with her and the song she cut, “The Trouble Is You,” stems from one of those sessions. This recording was a three-song demo. Dean wants to shop her to the labels and, while I usually don’t allow myself to get excited about these speculative things, I have to admit I’m feeling a little buzz here. It seems unthinkable that Kaitlyn won’t get an offer. She’s that good and that driven.
Skype continues to keep me busy. My lovely friend Halie Loren just completed yet another jazzy, home-recorded project. She included a song that we Skype-wrote, “Heart First,” and included another co-write from her Nashville days, “Tender To The Touch.” I’ve heard early mixes of both and love them. Halie’s going for a slighly different vibe here, less dreamy and Latin-y, with a bit more Bonnie Raitt and R&B in the sonic stew. Great stuff. How lucky am I, getting to work with all these brilliant young people? I couldn’t ask for more…well, seeing one of these songs become an international smash hit earning millions would be nice. But, everything in its time. I remain an optimist.
Anyway, I’ll leave it there for the moment. Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving to our Canuck friends, and thanks to all of you for checking in.