I’m feeling the need to pinch myself from time to time these days. Music has given me so many gifts, and some of the best ones involve relationships. The truth is that it’s pretty cool to hang out with people I like and admire, and kind of mind blowing when they are also great, and in some cases, legendary, musicians. Getting to make music together takes the joy and the gift of it to another level entirely.
Take, for instance, ending up on stage with Warren Haynes, of the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, etc. I am amazed enough to be performing with David Wilcox and David Holt from time to time, as the Three Davids, but three Davids and a Warren was beyond extraordinary. Warren put on a show to benefit his brother, Brian Haynes, who is running for Asheville City Council, and asked us if we could come by to play a set. The line up was amazing, with members of the Steep Canyon Rangers, Empire Strikes Brass, Malcolm Holcombe, Lyric, Woody Wood, and many other amazing acts all playing a few songs each. When it was our turn, we played a few of our own, then Warren joined us for the classic blues number Walk On. Needless to say, that was a blast, and it was topped off my an invitation to do a bit of songwriting with one of the aforementioned musicians (though I shouldn’t spill just who until we make it happen).
And now I’ve just come home from Salt Lake City, where I had the privilege of performing at the Parliament of World Religions, a huge interfaith gathering that happens somewhere in the world every five years. I was there to play with Abraham Jam, a trio featuring my Muslim friend Dawud Wharnsby, Jewish friend Billy Jonas, and the Quaker Christian guy in the Aussie outback hat (me). Among other performances, we played immediately following an author I greatly admire, Karen Armstrong. Several of her books are on my shelf, so it was a grin when she gave us a thumbs up from the stage, and lovely to meet her afterward.
Last Tuesday night I also got to play with some delightful, though less-known, musicians. My non-profit, PEG Partners, began a music program in El Tejar, Guatemala in 2004, in partnership with LEAF International and Child-Aid. This past weekend, LEAF brought some of the kids and one of the teachers up to play at the LEAF Festival, and PEG had an event with them on Tuesday night where we played a few songs. It’s always such a joy to see my friends from Guatemala and see what incredible musicians they have grown to be.
And now I’m home for a couple of days before heading out for more shows, flying out again on Friday morning for Ohio, and then from there to Texas, before getting home to trick or treat with my son on Halloween, which also happens to be his birthday. We will close out that weekend with a show at the White Horse Black Mountain in my home town, with my long-time friends Jimmy Landry and Beth Wood. If you want the low down on all of the upcoming travel, click here.
It’s a good life, and I’m grateful. Thank you for making it possible. I hope that you will be among the people I will get to run into next…