All work and no play…

…is not what this tour is about.

After a very hectic and exhausting (though rewarding) week in Chicago it’s been great to get a couple of days off in Huntingdon in beautiful west Pennsylvania.

I should come clean and admit that it’s really the band who have been having the time off: James (stage management and lights) Stevie (sound) and Emma (staff director) have been disappearing to the venue and/or their hotel rooms to do WORK every day.

Except on Tuesday, we, with the aid of our generous and hospitable local presenter Chad Herzog, managed to prise Stevie and Emma out for a few hours sightseeing. (James remained attached to his laptop as firmly as a Scapa Flow limpet to a rock.) Chad took us down some caverns, and up some mountains. But the highlight of the afternoon was a company game of volleyball (the college’s speciality) overlooking Raystown Lake.

Impressive, huh? Sport and mime in one brief YouTube clip!

Thursday evening, after some tech and rehearsal in the afternoon, we persuaded an excellent local cafe, the Standing Stone Coffee Company, to let us set up and play a few songs and tunes. It was great to be in front of an audience again after the break, especially doing a completely relaxed musical set – no need to remember scripts and lighting cues, just heads-down, no-nonsense northern swing for 45 minutes.

Well, I say no nonsense…at one point Dick did attempt to walk out the door during an electric mandolin solo, aiming to perform for the audience while looking in through the plate glass windows at them. Unfortunately his lead was too short, so before he could even stumble past the mic stand he unplugged himself and fell silent. Unlike the audience, who guffawed and applauded this tour de force of musical professionalism: ‘Slick, Vegas-style showbiz,’ as Cornell Hurd likes to say.

Luckily, Linda was on hand to wow the cafe with her swinging fiddle…

All in all, a good warm up for this evening, which will have us performing Long Gone Lonesome to its biggest ever audience, in a 600 seater auditorium at Juniata College. Speaking of which, I must stop now and head off for our tech check and dress rehearsal.

Duncan

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Standing Stones…

According to wikipedia “Huntingdon was settled in 1767 by the Rev. Dr. William Smith on the site of a famous Indian council ground, near the spot where Standing Stone Creek flows into the Juniata River. The spot was marked by the erection of a “Standing Stone Monument” erected at the borough centenary and rumored to exist before the founding of the original village which was called Standing Stone.” How appropriate, given Orkney is famed for it’s Standing Stones (see Ring of Brodgar pic). No sign of the standing stone here so far, but we have found the Standing Stone Cafe and in honour of the connection are going to break out the instruments and play a few tunes in there tonight at 9pm. A good chance to get warmed up before the next show tomorrow night. If you happen to be passing, come in along. The sun is blazing again here today, after a day of complete contrast yesterday with long awaited snowfall! It was a gorgeous sight, with every branch of every tree coated in no time.. will post some photos later. Dick got some guddling in yesterday too…  Need to rush off now… we’re off up to see the venue at Juniata College and get some rehearsal time in. Back to work…