Monday, January 21, 2008

South Florida Folk Festival

Just returned home from a great weekend in South Florida, attending the South Florida Folk Festival. We took the kids to Disney World for a couple days on the way down, and had a fantastic time. I highly recommend 'Expedition Everest" roller coaster at Animal Kingdon Park for you thrill-seekers!
I had a great house concert on Friday night before the festival, hosted by my friends the Humphrey's. They had a wonderful crowd of about 30 people, plus 3 cheesecakes! I stayed up late after the show to play Sony Playstation with their son Tim. It turns out I am a dominating force at NCAA Football, you can't stop my running game, can't stop it!

Saturday at the South Florida Folk Festival I finally found out how it feels to win one of these songwriting contests that have been my nemesis for so many years. I was very honored to be chosen as one of the 3 winners along with my good friend Jud Caswell, and Friction Farm, a great duo from the Atlanta area. My winning songs were '$12.99' and 'If I Broke The Record'. It's nice to get a pat on the back sometimes, even though I know judging songwriting is a crapshoot at best, and several of the other finalists certainly could have been chosen as the winners instead.
I got to perform 4 different times at the festival, including an in-the-round with Jud and Friction Farm at the winners concert, and an in-the-round with one of my all-time favorite groups, Storyhill. I even had the honor of having Chris and Johnny of Storyhill sing 3-part harmony with me on 'This Old Guitar', my favorite John Denver tune. It was a thrill to sing with them. If you aren't familiar with Storyhill, be sure to check them out at
Jud Caswell and I also sang a duet on stage, covering 'Houses In The Fields' by John Gorka. Jud and I are playing several shows together this spring along the east coast, and that is going to be a very fun time!

There was also a vendor at the festival selling half-pound cookies. Yeah, that's right, Half-Pound Cookies! They were pretty unbelievable.

Thanks to Matthew Taylor ( for sending me these pictures from the South Florida Folk Festival. This is me performing at the winner's concert on the festival mainstage on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

DP Best of 2007 Awards

Happy New Year! It is one of my favorite yearly traditions, the making of the DP "Best Of The Year" Awards. I know you enjoy them almost as much as me, and without further addooooo, here we go;

Top 5 Gigs of 2007
5) Rick’s Music, Raynham, MA. 4/20. A music store/café with very nice folks. The concert was also a fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, a great organiztion that builds homes for injured soldiers.

4) Sweet Grass Café, Oscoda, MI. 9/14. A lovely, quaint café in a small town on the shores of Lake Huron. A cool early autumn night, with homemade apple pie, and the Paul Bunyan Festival going on across the street.

3) Electric Brew, Goshen, IN with Greg Adkins. 2/10. The Electric Brew has always been one of my favorite venues, it was great to have Greg Adkins share the stage with me, playing for a full house. As usual, the pregame meal was at the South Side Diner!

2) Messages Concert Series, St. Augustine, FL 7/28. TheDP 2006 DJ of the Year, Stu Weaver of WFCF in St. Augustine started a new concert series at Flagler College, and I was the first concert of the series, quite an honor. A wonderful crowd in an old historic building on a beautiful summer night.

1) Swallow Hill, Denver, CO. 5/19. Probably the #1 gig of all-time. I got my start as a performer back in high school at Swallow Hill open mics. I also took numerous lessons and workshops at Swallow Hill, and always dreamed of performing there. To be a headliner was really an honor, made even better because the incomparable Rob Seals flew out from LA to accompany me on stage. It was a near sell-out, playing to an enthusiastic crowd filled with old friends. Perfect!

Best Tour of 2007 - February Midwest Tour with Greg Adkins – I almost always travel and perform solo, but travelling and sharing 5 gigs with Greg was a wonderful experience. We played in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, which in retrospect, are not the best places to be in February! The gigs were great, and it was fun swapping songs with Greg, and learning his songs. Depsite being a Tennessee fan, he is still an OK guy.

Best Tour of 2007 (family version) - October tour in Ohio with my baby girl, Emma Lynn. You can read all the details of the tour complete with pictures in my blog post from October, but it was a wonderful experience having my sweet baby (she's 4 now, but she'll still be my baby even when she's 20) on the road with me.

Best New Artist of 2007 – Brad Yoder. It is true that Brad Yoder is not a “new” artist. He’s not even really new to me, as I met him in 2006, but at this year’s Northeast Folk Alliance Conference, he really caught my ear, and I became a huge fan. I now own all of his CD’s, and can’t get enough. It also turns out, he used to work at the South Side Diner in Goshen, IN. Small, wonderful world!

Best Concert of 2007 – A brief 20-minute showcase by Lowen & Navarro at the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis is this year’s best concert. Lowen & Navarro is one of my favorite acts, and Eric Lowen is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It was an extremely inspirational moment to see Eric, barely able to lift his hands, but still playing his heart out, even to a small crowd in a hotel room in Memphis. Magical.

Best CD of 2007 – Going to put 2 CD's on this list.
Brad Yoder - Someday Or Never. This record features some fantastic songwriting, and such solid production, that it works for me even though it is pretty far away from my normal listening range. I got this CD on November 11th, and despite only having it for 6 weeks of 2007, I know I listened to it more than any other CD I got this year. 'School Together' is my favorite song of the year, and is just one of many gems on this great project.
Greg Adkins – Chase The Western Sky. The harmony vocals on this CD are so amazing, they alone make the purchase worthwhile. (J) Seriously though, my cameo aside, this is a great, great record. Greg worked with producer Chris Rosser in Asheville, and put together a great collection of songs.

Vacation of the Year – Taking the kids to Disney World for the first time was a wonderful time. Disney World is really a great experience for the kids, and to see the joy on their faces was priceless. I kind of liked the rides too!

Musicians Day Off Day Of The Year – As if going to Disney World wasn’t enough for one year, in October, I went to Disneyland with two of my best friends and musical compatriotes. (I have no idea if that is a word). I joined Rob Seals , producer/sideman extraordinaire (and his wife the Ashbear) and Ryan Brown, long time friend and drummer for a great day of roller coasters and spinny things. If you ever go to Disneyland, you need to go with Ryan Brown, he could write the Disneyland handbook.

Sweep of the Year - The Cleveland Browns take both games from the Baltimore Suckens, I mean Ravens. The 2nd game, an overtime victory in Baltimore was sweet, with a last second, game tying field goal from Phil Dawson, that hit the upright, bounced in and out and in, and left Baltimore fans sick to their stomachs, which is how they deserve to be!

Have I Seen This Before? Football Game of the Year – Auburn defeats Florida for the second year in a row! Florida may be last year’s defending champ, and a football powerhouse, but my boy Tommy Tuberville absolutely owns Urban Meyer.

Have I Seen This 6 times Before? Football Game of the Year – Auburn beats rival Alabama for the 6th straight year. Auburn is undefeated in the Iron Bowl since the birth of Christopher Potts in 2001.

Fantasy Baseball Performance Of The Year - 'Thome's Tigers', managed by Dave Potts. This fantasy baseball team finished #5 out of 11,000 teams on

Book of the Year – Yeah, right, we’ll just pretend like I read so many books, I could never pick just one:)

Movie Of The Year – I took a lot of heat for last years choice of Talladega Nights as movie of the year. That made me very tempted to go with Blades of Glory for this years movie of the year, but I’ll refrain, and go with ‘Dan In Real Life’. Great acting by Steve Carrel, as my favorite character from another show (The Office), he did a great job of creating a new, believable character, that I never confused with Michael Scott.