Paddy & Swan (Ireland), Toast & Tea (UK), Red Wine & Baguett (Paris), Weed & Clogs (Holland)…

yup, i’m home, after 7 weeks on the road, it was the endurance test of my career, it was like the enigizer bunny it just kept going and going and going…but looking back it was a blast. i met great people, played great gigs, saw new places i’d always wanted to go…so what is not to love? even if i’m suffering from some back pain and am sort of house bound since my return…it was worth it.

so where did i leave you? i can’t remember but i think it was sometime around october 24th or so when i was in the UK about to leave to Ireland:

Nottingham- ok, i think i already covered land of Peter Pan, no, i mean, Robin Hood…this is actually where i developed my back pain by sleeping on a slowly deflating air mattress on a cold night, since then sitting down for long periods of time has been unbearable…in any case, my shows there were so so and my time on the Folkwit tour was wraping up.

Leicester- our last Folkwit show was here, a club in a somewhat uninteresting town in the Midlands. At that point all I had on my mind was that I was going to be alone again, for better or worse, after traveling with the label for two weeks. and i had made friends that i really liked. Shannon and Gaff had hosted me, Shannon is actually an American from North/South Dakota (i can’t remember which….) and was a really nice person. She had moved to the UK to be with her husband and I thought she had a lot of guts to move abroad and leave her family to create a new one, it struck me that all my travels always have an end date but it’s a different story when you actually move abroad. And then there was “If Wen” a guy on the label who works for the BBC by day at night writes moody songs about lost love and the beaches of Cornwall. Nice guy and very interesting to meet a British journalist, I was very intrigued by his career and how he goes about interviewing people, he’d been undercover at protests, gone to Iraq twice, interviewed a paralized man from a train crash on the British rail. Yeah, “if” was cool. And then there was Sam Carter, a great guitarist and a nice guy who I got talking about all the ins and outs of making music cause you love it but trying to manuver the business around you. And then the other folks of Folkwit: Andy Whittle, Sammuel Kirk, Jezz Hall, Nick…good people and a nice way to be apart of a community in the UK, if only for a few weeks. Right after I played my part of the show I more or less had to leave to catch the last train to the airport, “if” walked me there and as I got on the train I felt that loneliness all over again, hoping that Ireland would take it away.


County Westmeath- I flew into Dublin and took the airport bus into the city. I had time to burn since i had taken an early morning flight and didn’t have a gig until the evening. So i found a cafe where I could eat and loiter and spent about three hours drinking an unending cup of tea and working on my screenplay. Yup, screenplay you ask? I’ve been working on several for years, and absolutely none of them have ever been finished or seen the light of day, I’m not sure that this one is any different, but in that time I was in the cafe I must have hand written about 50 pages of plot and dialogue, so at least it was easy to come up with things. Probably because I was “writing what I know” and almost writing it from memory. In any case, that was a fine day of burning time in the middle of Dublin. Then I took a bus to Mullingar where I had my first show of 3 that a really cool promoter had set up for me in the great middle of Ireland the “midlands”. So basically I went from the Midlands to the Midlands. get it? If you didn’t I meant I went from the UK midlands to the Ireland midlands, from one middle of the country to the next.

Mullingar- Before the show I walked around the town and found an old church with a graveyard on it’s side, it was kind of haunting and I just kept staring at it like it would move. I had been to Ireland only once before when I was 12 for a family reunion so I was trying to conjur up any memories or feelings I’d ever had about it in the first place, so I supposed that old stone church was just setting the mood. show was good, some people were attentive, some were probably drunk, but it was a nice group of people and the club was kind of funny. i was in the front room but there was a stone cold room in the back where the big bands play and they were having the guys from the TV show “Jackass” play there the next night, sounded horrific…

Athlone- Dave and Eddie picked me up from a pub and took me to “the Shack” where we played that night. It didnt’ take long to feel at home with two Irish musicians who had good senses of humor and to knock back a pint at a very cozy old Irish pub. Our show was great, it was intimate and fun, I had a really good time. The was an after party at Eddie and his girlfriend Jasmine’s house (she happens to be American…) and it was about ten guys and Jasmine and me, it turned into a sing along party and just about everyone in the room did a Neil Young cover, which was easy for me to do. It was a good time. I passed out well before the rest of them but in the morning I awoke to very lively and fun hangover breakfast and really felt as though I had stepped right in to the best scene in County Westmeath, hell, in Ireland. Good people, good conversation, welcoming, lots of laughing, good food, I had arrived. It was even a typical dreary day in Ireland with overcast skies and looking out to the lake you could see the swans. It was very calming and melancholy as my grandmother always used to say the Irish sentiment was, I could feel it sitting there looking out the window past the lake to the green hills and a large stone cross on the hill, cows in the distance.

Ballymahon- We went on a walk through the woods lead by Dave and passed an old abandon house that was surely haunted. They had been inside and said there were still old glasses on the table, tins in the kitchen, sounded to creapy to climb in through a broken window but just lookin from the outside was enough. The woods were wet and dense and it was nice to walk and I chatted with Jasmine who seemed to be settled to live in Ireland and resigned to leaving America and it’s politics behind. The walk helped me to sort of clear my mind, Ireland is lovely with how green it is and the old stone walls, there is a certain feeling you get there. The place I played was Skelly’s a cute pub and they had the stage in front of a fireplace that was about as Halloween as it could be, since Halloween was a few days away at that point. I was playing on a stage with a which and orange lights, I was in heaven, because if you know me, you know that I love Halloween and it’s my favorite holiday. So I was excited to play on the themed stage to the pub of people. I was almost sad the next day to leave County Westmeath to go back to Dublin for my shows there.

Dublin- I played a show to a loud room and the entire time there was a projection screen showing “Evin Dead” with no sound which I then proceeded to watch several times during the course of the night, what a gross movie! but hilarious, you don’t even need sound because i’m sure the dialogue is crap and useless. Keiron and Jon hosted the show and were really nice, it’s a show called “Sunday Roast” and they make roasted potatoes for everyone which were great. Dublin is lovely, very nice quaint town, very similar to Boston now that I think about it. Lots of pubs and a lot going on close the river (even though the river is gross and dirty…). My other show at the Ruby Sessions was great, you could hear a pin drop and it was a nice full room of people really listening and those kind of shows are always fun, high pressure to perform, but worthwhile and if you get the material across people inevitably enjoy it and buy cds and all that. I met some cool people and had a nice time. I also spent Halloween in Dublin which I can just say was debacherous and everyone was dressed up and drunk in the streets, it must be a universal thing that when women don’t know what to be for Halloween they inevitably dress like hussy sluts, I don’t know why, but they do. Although some were more inventive, I saw one girl dressed like the nut in “clockwork orange” that was cool.

Galway- a lovely town on the west side of Ireland. I played a nice show at Roisin Dubh, a great club there, and they gave me an apartment to stay in (some venues in europe do this and it’s always great). My friends from County Westmeath came to Galway Dave, Keith, and I stayed up at the apartment hanging out eating chips (fries) and chatting until I fell asleep on the couch and eventually woke up to find a bed. The next day we went for a nice Irish lunch of soup and sandwich and tea. Then walked around town down to the water where in the distance you can see County Clair and some large hills in the distance. I wish it was a clear day and I had seen more. On the coast there were lots of birds and an infamous story where a guy had killed and tried to BBQ a swan and how the cops found him by a train of feathers and blood. I just looked back at the town and noticed how quaint and lovely it was, how the buildings were all different colors, how there’s lots of seaweed there and I had even met a guy the night before studying seaweed because there is so much of it. When they walked me to the other side of town to catch my bus back to Dublin I was sad to leave my friends. There are some great people in Ireland, in county westmeath, in dublin, and in galway, I can’t wait to go there again.

BACK TO THE UK: I played five more shows in the UK up in Cumbria

Keswick-When I flew into the airport in Blackpool I immediately went to Hertz and picked up my rental car. I had been “upgraded”. At first I was annoyed to think they had given me a less fuel efficiant car then the one I had reserved but they also said it was an automatic which is a good thing when you are driving on the other side of the road, they even asked if it was a “problem” that the car was automatic since they are all stick shifts there. In the parking lot I couldn’t even find the car because I didn’t know what I was looking for. So i kept pushing the unlock button on the keychain waiting for a car to unlock. then i noticed the black station wagon with tinted windows that had a vibe of a hearse, and it opened. And then I got into my “hearse” (I referred to it as that from there on out) and drove to my gig. It took a while to get used to driving on the other side of the road, especially the roundabouts, i had to play close attention to everything. But the hearse was amazing, it was brand new and had power everything and you could even control the stereo on the stearing wheel, I was eventually elated that I had been “upgraded”. Keswich is a beautiful little town in the lake district, my gig was at a nice cafe/bar/bistro there, they put me up at a B&B which is always nice. But of course they didn’t have a PA and the room was kind of loud, so it was a challenge to have people hear me but I enjoyed meeting the people and loved walking around the town the next day. I went on a nice long walk around the lake which was stunning. Fall folliage, mountains, lake, islands in the lake, it was gorgeous, I felt really lucky to be there then in a clearly touristic destination I had stumbled upon.

Hoff- I played the next night at a country pub in the middle of nowhere, Hoff is not even a town really, just a pub and a farm, and a few houses. The hosts were great though and I had my room and bath and dinner and played to a pub full of locals who were nice and attentive and we had good banter between songs.

Dent- I had played there the year before and in that year the management had changed and it was a bit strange and of course there was no PA for the second night on the tour, quite a challenge, but I did a sing along format instead which was fun and even asked some people from the town to come up and play some songs. In the end it was cool. Charlie was my old friend from last year and we went to a campfire after the show to hang out with his friends that had partaken in the sing along, we were around the campfire and it was cold and they were all telling stories of when they had been to america which was funny because they’d only been to places like a ranch in Texas and Los Vegas, basically places I’ve never even been. Charlie must have been quite drunk because he was out of the campfire a bit and started farting quite frankly and we were all confused of whether or not to laugh or cry, one of the girls started saying how gross it was (there were multiple farts, and he seemed to affirm each one after they happened with an “ahh…” “mmmhh”) I of course just laughed the entire time. The next day I took a little trip into the countryside and went into a cave, that was cool, you always feel really claustrophobic when you are entering it but that feeling passes and then it’s kind of like being in a different world. I left Dent to head south but I passed through Seberg on the way, which is a lovely little village that is considered the book capital of the world because it has about 20 bookstores even though the town is miniscule. I found a nice cafe to hang out at and write, it was a lovely place, I hope to go back there again sometime.

Wolverhampton- I played at varsity venue last year, it’s a nice club and Stu the promoter is a cool guy and very helpful. It was so foggy on my way into town I got lost and totally frustrated because you couldn’t see anything, the fog was like pea soup, I had never seen anything like it before. I was thankful to finally get there. I played with some local bands which should have been great except they all insisted they play anytime but last, so as the out-of-towner I ended up headlining which is always a death sentence as it was a sunday night and people wanted to get home before they got lost in the fog. Stu and I went to an open mike after and I ended up playing some more songs there on accordion for fun. We were sitting next to some polish folks and the girl had massive breasts that even I couldn’t fathom and across from here were two guys with shaved heads and muscles the size of my head. i guess i was just staring for a while. That night we watched some “eddie izzard” who is a great comedian and whilst stu was putting it on the DVD some hardcore porn appeared which his housemate had failed to take out of the DVD player. it was good for a laugh. The next day we walked around to charity shops as I was looking for some shoes but ended up with scarf. I had an arctic role, which was sweet and disgusting, but looks good. And I orded chili twice from the restaurant and they didn’t have it twice, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Bristol- my last show in the UK was in Bristol and it was fun. Andi met up with me and we tried to return my rental car but failed as we couldn’t find the Hertz place. Then I went back to Helen’s place and had dinner, she is getting her phD in poetry and writing a dissertation on slam poetry, which seemed really cool, she had been to the US to do research and had lots of interesting stories about it. I played at the “acoustic night” which is kind of like the open mike but was about 80% poets and a few musicians. But it was a relief to hear poetry instead of music as I had been surrounded by music the entire tour and enjoyed the break, plus I love writing and poetry so it was nice to get an insight into that culture, they were all really supportive of each other and overall it was just really interesting. i was the feature and played a set and they were all very responsive and it was a nice night and a good way to end my time in the UK.

FRANCE, or Paris rather:

Paris- on the plane ride over I noticed a woman wearing a baret with a stripped shirt and thought that surely she was a French bohemian. After I got my luggage and headed for the train into Paris she came up to me and said “are you playing in Paris?”, I don’t know how she knew but she said she asked because I had a guitar, I explained to her that I had a show that night in Bastille and she decided to tag along. She was a bit older maybe around forty, and was a pianist. Her name was Jacqualine and she was actually Canadian but lived in the UK. She had come to Paris for two days as a sort of spontaneous trip and she was going to go around the city finding cafes with pianos and playing one song at each one and leaving her cd, it seemed like a strange idea, but i thought it was a very cool concept in general. We sort of immediately connected and she told me how before she got married and had her son she had toured all over Europe for years. We found her a hotel and then went to the club where I was going to play. It was the cutest place called “the Motel” a smokey hipster bar in a hip part of Paris. I immediately loved it there. We got a drink and some cheese, sausage, and bread (all they had in the way of food) and hung out before I played. There was a great vibe there, even though I felt like I had stepped in to a hipster bar in Brooklyn were everyone was speaking French, and it was damn smokey. The guy who ran the place felt bad that they didn’t have more food for me so he brought me to his apartment next door where he had cous cous and chicken, he lived alone and commented how he should “get a cat”. The show was fun and Jacqualine and I agreed to meet up the next day.

I stay with my friend Laura who lives near Momarte, she’s a really cool person and it’s always good to see her. Plus she lives in an interesting part of Paris, not the best part, but it’s close to Momarte and very interesting in general. I walked to Momarte and met up with Jacqualine, we climbed up to the cathedral, or whatever it is, and then went past it to the hill were all the painters and cafes are. It was lovely, we had a capaccino there and I just remember feeling like I had met her for a reason, that she was me in the future. Our conversation really helped me because I had been feeling so confused the entire tour about my future and what I was going to do in my life ( i guess i always feel that). But she gave me some kind of confidence that everything would work itself out, she encouraged me to stick with my music, that I had something there and it was worth keeping with, she told me i’d all work out. and i thought that maybe it would. maybe i could keep making a life of music and maybe when it all made sense i could fall in love and get married and have kids and all that stuff, and that even that would be ok when it happened. i guess she was sort of the pill i needed to take that made me realize that life keeps going and works itself out one way or another and it’s all ok. i’m really glad i met her then, it was definitely what i needed. everyone else comes to Paris and they’re already in love, they are on honeymoons, they are making out in alleys. i was alone and thinking the entire time, i had so much on my mind. so a few things happened that just helped me make sense of things. that was a good day.

my show at Point Epherme with “versari” was really cool, it’s a great club. and i saw my old friend Dawn landes there which was quite a nice surprise. the show was cool, they always feed you in france which is great, because the food is good. i just wish i knew French and then i’d never leave Paris because it is lovely. I spent a lot of time in Momarte just walking around and writing, a weird thing came over me a few days after I’d been in Paris and I just started writing voraciously and by the time I left I almost had a book, a book I call “the cathartic handbook” which was basically me purging all the feelings I had had of late, on my life, on my break up, on moving on, on life and love and everything else. I guess Paris really does inspire. I found the cafe where they filmed “Amelie” and had coffee there twice. I love that movie, I love Paris. My other show at Viex Leon was nice, the owner was great, the food was good, the people were lovely. I loved it. My last show was back at Pop In, my favorite hole in the wall club in Paris where it’s so smokey you could cut it with a knife, I met lots of people and ended up dancing to soul music late at night and taking a taxi well after the metro closed, yes, yes, paris is special. It was hard to leave I enjoyed it there so much, I think one day I will live there, in fact I’m sure of it, I’ll just have to find a way I guess. it’s very easy to fall in love in paris, if only just with paris. My last day I went to Shakespeare and Co. and English language bookstore, and I sat up on a bed and wrote for hours, just across the river from Notre Dame, how lovely. Of course the bad ending was the day I left the metro went on strike and I had to walk a few miles with all my stuff to catch my ride to Holland, all with a bad back, but even with that bad ending to a week in Paris I still can’t say a bad word about it. xxxoo.


It was my first time there and I didn’t know what to expect. We went through Belgium and I was suprised that with the European union there are now no borders to go through, that was actually nice. I arrived in Amsterdam and it was already night. I went to my venue which was an Irish pub and basically was like going to Ireland again instead of Holland, as everyone who worked there, and several of the patrons were Irish. It was a long gig but fun and there were some nice people there and a bunch of rowdy Croatians that were there for a boat show. That night I stayed in the apartment that the venue owns, watched some news and feel asleep soundly.

Zwolle- almost six years ago now I backpacked around Southeast Asia and in Thailand i spent a few weeks with a Dutch guy named Jereon or “joey” as i called him. We kept in touch and he came and picked me up from Amsterdam and took me back to his played in Zwolle where he lives with his girlfriend and their son Walter. It was nice to see him again, he’s such a positive person and we reminisced about our time in Asia and all our travels. it was great. but it was bad timing because his son was sick, he had a bad cold and was having trouble breathing so in the time i was there they had to take him to he hospital. that was kind of sad. but nonetheless, i’m so glad i got to reconnect with him. he also took me to see an Osteopath who treated me for my back, he cracked it in fact. that was interesting, i was convinced he might cure me, which he didn’t entirely, but i do think it must have helped.

Haarlem- i played a show in a beautiful old pub from the 1500s, it used to be the place where they would weigh the goods that came in from shipping with a large metal scale called a “de waag” in dutch. it was a nice attentive and intimate crowd and a good night. Cees was the promoter and a really nice guy, he hated america and told me that early on, i didn’t bother defending it, i just said it’s where i’m from, i can’t defend our politics and would never bother. but he was great and so was his wife Elisabeth. they had been married only about a month before but were probably in their 50’s, really nice people and it was great to get to know them. the next day Cees took me on a bike ride to the town next door which was a quaint beautiful village, and he showed me where his boat was out in the water. we had a hot chocolate in a pub (also from the 1500s) that had old rugs on the table (appearantly a very dutch thing). it was such a cozy place with antiques on the walls, and those rugs, man, it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had and probably ever will.

Edinhoven- the fifth biggest city in holland i was told. I played at a club that has blues and jazz and everything inbetween it seems, it was fun, the people were nice, i met two Dutch guys who were highly entertaining and got really drunk and i took a video on my camera of one dancing and singing with a mic that wasn’t turned on. i met a girl who had on the same sweater as me, both black and white stripes, we took pictures, she already sent me hers and wants me to send mine. Nina Simone followed me from the UK, to Ireland, to France, to Holland, everywhere I went I would hear her on the ipods of the clubs and just feel waves of sadness and happiness, I love Nina Simone, I think she is my favorite singer ever. Erwin was the promoter of the club and my host, he’s a nice guy, a poet. He made me a killer breakfast and i liked his old cat that would sit on it’s chair as though it would never leave, we watched some Wallace and Gromitt cartoons, or rather the same people who created it, and those were great. Then I went back to Amsterdam for my last show.

Amsterdam- i had time to burn, about 3 hours, and I put my stuff in a locker at the train station and wandered around the city to see “it”, which it turned out to be the red light district. It was cold, and if it hadn’t been for that I would have enjoyed it more, but my hands seemed to be loosing their circulation it was so cold. I walked down the touristy bit and got some curry fries at this place where the food is in a vending machine. you stick one euro in the machine and you open a door and get a hamburger, strange but cool, i’d never seen that before. I wandered into the red light district where there are “coffeeshops” everywhere in the alleys, all kinds of places where you can just go smoke a joint at your fancy. some were themed, rasta reggae, some were just normal cafe but the menu must be in canabis terms. i don’t know because i actually didn’t even go in one because i didn’t want to get stoned and then go play a show. but i did want to see the red light district, and when i stumbled upon it i hardly knew i was there until i noticed i was in an alley and it was all men and then i started to notice the many many windows of woman who are displaying themselves in fishbowl style. most of them had on bra and undies, some even skipped the top or had their nipples bulging out. some even had on flourescent bakinis and outfits where their whole bodies were glowing (also like some rare tropical fish). yeah, it was crazy, they are just standing there, or posing there like a display window, and all there is seperating you from a hooker is some glass and if she has a customer all she does is pull a curtian, so that is when you know they are in business. i was told a “suck a fuck” costs fifty euro (only 75 bucks), i think that is the bargain of a lifetime, i can’t believe they do it so cheap. i especially can’t believe it because someone told me they are unionized, in which case i don’t understand why it’s not a lot more. but yeah, what a sight to see. it’s a one of a kind place. the canals in Amsterdam are beautiful, the houses are tall and thin, it’s a really beautiful and special place. it just happens that the main attraction for tourists is weed and hookers, and maybe mushrooms although i hear they are trying to make those illegal ever since some tourist jumped off a building to his demise because he thought he could fly.

My gig was at a really cool place called KHL, it’s sort of a music theatre, really nice, and not anywhere near the red light. I actually had some friends come to see me, my friend Matt who I actually had met in ireland but was there for the weekend (maybe getting a suck and fuck, i don’t know…). and my friend Jeannette that I lived with in Australia also about six years ago (i’m getting old) and it was amazing to see her because she is married now and has a child and was just so put together I was really in awe. It was a great last gig because i was around friends, new and old, and just felt like it was all worthwhile and was exhausted and ready to go home.

So the next day I flew back to the UK where I had one more day before I flew back here to the good USA. I changed all my money in euro and pound back to dollar (thank god for the exchange rate, our money is shit, but i made more…). then i went out for my last night with my friends James Yuill and Sam Carter and we saw a show and had a few beers and it was fun. The next morning I got up and started my long journey home on Air Canada. Which was much better on the way back then on the way there at least with entertainment (i saw “once” and “mighty heart” and the “simpsons movie” all were great and highly recommended). But i was delayed in toronto and that sucked. but whatever I”M HOME!!! and even though i’m exhausted and my back hurts and i had to have an MRI on it to see what is wrong, i know i will be ok and that this trip was totally worthwhile and i’d do it again if i had the energy…

thanks for reading and as your PRIZE for finishing this blog i’m rewarding you with …..



thanks for flying ryan air.