It is 2:53 am. I’m in the middle seat, back row of an eight passenger van, lodged between a drummer and a fiddler. If I crane my neck left and back or right and forward as we jet down the Danish Highway I can see through the space between a piano player and a guitar player on one side or a bass player on the other. The broken white lines on the perfectly smooth pavement curve toward the headlights and zip beneath us. Feels like a small plane on an unusually long runway.
Its an odd energy as it its not really an early rise, as none of us has slept yet. Nor is it a post gig dash as we did not really play a show tonight. I am not sure if I should be telling jokes and reviewing the evenings events as I would normally do in the van or bus after a concert, or try to keep my mouth shut and not bug people as I am sometimes disciplined enough to do in the early mornings. This is an odd travel day for sure. Its is a day that will require me to have in my pocket Danish Kroners to start, then onto Euros for Germany, Pound Sterling for Heathrow and Canadian Dollars for Home. This a strange day. A strange and wonderful day.
I am heading home after what feels like a dream week on the road. After the home run of a gig in London, I feel like we scored again at the Tonder Festival. We Sold Out of all the Boy on Bridge CD’s and all the concerts and appearances went very well. Amazing considering the options for fans to see this week. I saw many of them myself. The Chieftains and their whole gang were as charming as ever. So good to see all of them as lovely as they were when GBS supported their US Tour over a decade ago. Bruce and Runrig were kind enough to ask me up to sing Beat the Drum, one of my fav tunes of theirs. Likewise, Oysterband had me guest on When I’m Up, and I asked the boys up during my set for ‘Native Son’. I did not get to see Steve Earle’s set, but heard it was his usual, great performance. By far the most impressive thing I saw all weekend was The Lone Bellow. Easily the freshest take on folk music I’ve heard in a while. Not to mention what could be the best live singing trio I’ve ever heard. Really fantastic.
The Tonder Festival is the best music Festival I’ve ever attended or played. Everything is so well organized and thought out. The stages are all the perfect height and the sound is always impeccable. The backstage is literally a musician’s dream. There is a dedicated bar just for the bands and their guests. And if it ever closes, I’ve never seen it. There are tables and benches indoors and out to accommodate chats and songs and tunes inside and out. Theres always two or three different tables and areas with folks playing fiddle tunes over here and another crowd singing shanties over there and around the corner in a quieter spot a pass-the-guitar circle is in mid session with something heartfelt and true gently filling the air. It is magical.
Pretty quiet now. To my left Kris has his headphones in staring into the night sky while dissecting some song on his most awesome Itunes collection. Kendel is asleep next to me on the other side with her head against the window and her fiddle propped up with her knees. I cannot help but wonder how many kilometers she’s travelled in this exact position as she’s toured for well over half her young life. Cory and Shehab both appear to be sleeping while Todd sits as calm and studious as ever, no doubt figuring out some hard thing in his ever moving brain. Tour manager Andy is way up front there with our Danish driver. I can’t see much of them from back here but I’d bet the farm that Andy is looking at the clock on his phone every ten minutes or so, as great tour managers are want to do. Me, I honestly don’t know if I should be going to sleep or waking up.
Either way I’m very happy. I am in a band and we just played Tonder Festival. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
In 40 minutes or so we should be at Hamburg Airport. From there I fly for an hour to Heathrow, and after negotiating the maze that is LHR I should board a direct flight to St. John’s just in time to help get ready for Grade Three.