It’s a beautiful morning here on Block Island. There are large, white, and puffy clouds in the sky that remind me more of a Kansas plain than a July summer in the Northeast. I’m drinking a coffee at Aldo’s Bakery on Weldon Way. From this point of view, I can see anxious island, visitors, scrambling to rent mopeds, and bicycles. These folks add an air of danger to island life. They will ride their rented mopeds at high speed with the horns constantly blaring. (I will never really understand the need for constant horn blowing) They will take over parts of the island like a conquering force. They will attempt to get all of their fun in before the very last boat leaves the island. I will curse at least one of them out loud when they interrupt my contemplative walk with their daredevil maneuvering on Old Town Road. Some will travel like small gangs. Many think they are driving past a man that they will never see again, but it is an island and I will see them again. When that time comes, I will stare at them disapprovingly. They will know what they did. They will feel the shame of the bad visitor. A version of the ugly American.
By the day's end, I will have forgiven them. When the day is done, I understand their need to be reckless. I know that it is serious fun that they are after. We are, after all, looking for the same action. We are trying to enjoy this beautiful place in our own way. For those day trippers who have missed the last boat, we will form a begrudging bond and respect as we pass each other on Dodge Street on our way to the restaurants and bars. All will be forgiven until the sun returns. The night is for everyone. Along with this tale of island life, I wanted to lay out a quick update.
Since our successful Kickstarter campaign in April, and the amazing experience of recording my new record in Austin, Texas in May, so much has happened. The one difficult part has been transitioning to my summer life on Block Island. It took a moment to adjust to the slower pace, but the first month was very useful as it cleared my palette. I was able to ruminate on the recording that we made and after some time we are now at the very end of the mixing stage. It is quite possible that the finished tracks will be signed off on this very afternoon.
In the middle of that process, I went off looking for the artwork and people to make that art with that will represent this collection of songs. I believe I have found that. How the whole thing comes together and eventually ends up in the world is incredibly important to me. I think we’re going to offer something really special.
Before all that, I am going to leave this island and head up to The FalconRidge Folk Festival in Goshen, Connecticut for their Thursday Night Music Stage presented by Harbortown Music! It’s going to be a very warm reunion of old friends, including Falcon Ridge legends, like Joe Crookston, No Fuss and Feathers, Lisa Bastoni, Rachel Sage, and others. My set happens at 5:15.
Falcon Ridge has always been a big part of my own life. It was a big boost of confidence when I was selected as an emerging artist at the festival in 2001. I have been back over the years to FRFF but now, 23 years after that first incredible weekend it feels heavier and deeper. I hope I see you there.
OK, I’m going to finish this cup of coffee and take my chances on these daytime streets of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, on this beautiful rock we call Block Island. My residency and life at The National Hotel is very special to me. I am a lucky man to have this in my life. If you’re on the island, please come see me, but don’t ride up to me on a moped blaring your horn.
I tip my hat to you,