There is always this little wall of resistance that builds up just as I sit down to write about the band. I wonder--how many little details of our personal quest can we inflict on others before they conclude we are massive egotists who find our own petty accomplishments the most fascinating thing in life? I don't know really, but it'll be fun to find out. Today's update is about the Southwest Folk Alliance and our studio project. We spent a great weekend in Austin last month getting to know a lot of terrific people, including Dalis, the coordinator of the event, Mad Agnes, a cool liittle folk band from Connecticut, Gypsy Heart, a duo with a phenomenal bailalaika player, Jon Vesner, Cathy Mattea's husband and a terrific songwriter, and a bunch of nice Texans with nice things to say about our music. The farther south I get, the less I can tell when people are just being southern ladies and gentlemen and when they mean what they say, but being from the hard-knock world of Oakland, I'll take nice whether it is sincere or not. We got several invitaitons to return and play, which we hope to turn into a mini-tour in a year or two. We got home and within a week started our next CD project. We've been at it hot and heavy (when we aren't working, eating or sleeping) ever since. Our producer John Jacob lined up some wonderful musicians, and we are (swear to God) enjoying the experience, which can often be pretty stressful. Sam Bevin has reinvented all of our bass parts--he's as comfortable with a fretless electric as a stand-up, and creates melodic bits of brilliance where we would just thump the one and five. He also livens up the control room by bringing his eleven-month old daughter Penelope to hang out and try to eat patch cords. Jim the drummer was like a ZEN master, the most mellow drummer we've ever encountered, and completely at home in every genre we tried. And Tim Ellis came down from Portland to give us a sparkling high guitar counterpoint to a lot of our rhythm and lead guitar work, and to rip a few solos. All three of them were fun to work with, professional, incredibly talented and without any visible sign of arrogance, which we know is not the norm. Oh yeah, and the music is just laying us on the floor. If I can figure out how, I will put a few rough cuts on the site as we go along--we love 'em.. So we have the rhythm section and lead done on 14 songs, and will be adding some color (harmonica, pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin, maybe a concertina) and then heading into vocal work(hopefully before the cold and flu season claims any of our throats). We'll then decide whether a song or two ends up on the cutting room floor, fight over cover design, liner notes, etc. and with a little luck, we should be wrapping up the project in late November. Our next big adventure is in Portland at the beginning of November, the Far West Folk Alliance Conference. We'll be sharing a guerrilla showcase room with a band called TinCat. These things tend to go all night, so we'll be flying up Friday late, sleepless in Portland til Sunday and back at work Monday. I don't think musicians abuse booze and drugs that much, they just look that way after three or four days without sleep. We hope to see you in Portland or after the holidays, when we plan to have several CD release parties. Invitiations to follow. Greg, Vickie and Dave

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