Hey from Taos!
The Maes tour is done and dusted. We played some of our dream festivals (Telluride Bluegrass, Orkney Folk Festival, Inish Island Conversations) and saw some incredible places along the way. Like all journeys there were wild ups and downs, but it feels great to be on the other end looking back on it all as a huge learning experience. The crazy thing about touring in a band is that you pretty much become room-mates, colleagues, travel companions and full time friends in an almost pre-arranged marriage situation. I have so much respect and love for the two sisters that are The Maes: the two and only Maggie and Elsie Rigby! We spent two and half months sharing cars, rooms, planes and stages, which has left me feeling very strange sitting here typing away, in an empty house, in complete solitude.
In the last tour diary post, we’d been all up and down the east coasts of Australia and Canada. Our next stop was Glasgow for a house concert that turned into a bit of a dinner party…
And then to Edinburgh for another house concert, hosted by Rachel Sermanni and Adam Holmes and their beautiful baby Rosa (…mostly hosted by Rosa of course). Rachel and Adam make incredible music of their own. Do yourself a favour and look em up on youtube!
We had some time off, so we bought train tickets to take us up to Oban, where we’d take the ferry across to Mull… except that we accidentally staged what looked like a scene out of a movie, with a punctually-boarded Maggie watching myself and Elsie run after the moving train on the platform. I really need to get my watched fixed. The guards told us off for missing the train (thanks, we know) and Maggie zoomed off into the distance. By the time we’d caught up with Maggie in Mull, she’d recorded this amazing song with our friend Gordon that completely blew our minds. We had a brilliant time with Gordon. Mull is stunning, and the sunset turned EVERYTHING purple.
Then there was Orkney Folk Festival. Oh my lord. We had a great time and we even had a DAY OFF to go exploring the island. The way the light plays on the landscape is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Maggie and Elsie’s mum Jane joined us for this festival, so for a short moment we had a real proper tour mum!
We stopped in London for one hot second before flying to Ireland. There were two shows in a fantastic old venue (St Pancras Old Church) supporting Mick Flannery. Mick stole my heart in every performance.
I tried to find Platform 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross. This is what it looks like:
Hmm. Speaking of magic… our next stop was Inishbofin, for Inish Island Conversations. HOLY COW this island is special. Apparently it rains most of the time, but we had three days of brilliant sunlight, blue skies, clear water, white sandy beaches and rolling green hills. Shoutout to Paeder King who is the mastermind behind this festival, and made us feel so welcome.
We played a string of shows in Ireland, driven around by the mighty Keith. Keith was like this magic goblin who just popped up in scattered locations across the country, ready to transport us to the next place. I guess he’s like Ern, the driver from the Nightbus (did I mention the book I’ve been carrying around on tour is Harry Potter? You’d think it would keep me entertained for one day max, but the fact that it’s in Estonian slows me down).
Maggie invested in a set of Bananagrams. The Maes’ rules involve writing poetry from your words at the end. For example…
what is due
are fit for a fee
End up not
on a plate
Not ham, nor prawn
Rock your own crag
what is due
-Elsie Rigby, 2018
Ireland was over in a flash and next minute we were touching down in the Boston airport. To me it’s a place charged with memories and old feelings. Over the last three years I’ve rolled in to Boston about seven times. It’s where I spent time off between fiddle camps two years ago, when my brain was splitting with new information, friends and some of the worst and best experiences of my life. It’s the place that holds all those feelings, fresh-frozen in time until I breathe in the pollen-filled air and everything comes flooding back.
We played one show and rolled right on out again… bound for the final destination of the tour. Headed to the place where we’d tick off one the the biggest players on our bucket list… Telluride Bluegrass Festival!
I listened to a string of my biggest musical heroes play live for the first time. My favourite band the Punch Brothers premiered their entire new unreleased album, which totally floored me. I was pretty much floating on a cloud for four days. I really could die happy now!
And that’s a tour all done and dusted. Now for some time off, some refuelling at Shasta Music Summit and then HOME! Until next time…