Eric 2009/06/17 9:08am

We have returned from a Tennessee swing in which we played the Station Inn in Nashville, Riverbend in Chattanooga, and the Dumpling Valley Bluegrass Festival in Kodak as well as a stop at Harry Grant's Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival in Pennsylvania. I felt like we were all 'on' the entire trip, that the little engine was purring. Usually one out of five is going to be having an off day, whether it's feeling under the weather or whatever, but we all felt great and enjoyed the sunshine and smiling faces. We've really made an effort to play more in the Southeast the past couple of years, and it's paying off. It feels so good to be in Tennessee and hear folks yelling out our songs. We had so many nice moments, but I think one that will stand out is playing "Farm Of Yesterday" on stage for the first time with the band at the Station Inn. It's been a worry of ours that the song hits too close to home with Dad's recent medical problems, but there was feeling in the room that lifted the song. They rang the bell for it as well as for "Ring The Bell," the venue's sign of approval. Mike Bub's not one to blow smoke, and his telling me how much he loved the song means a lot to me. He was kind enough to run sound for us and really made it sparkle. Roland White came out to the show as well, another of our favorite musicians and people.

Leigh got to play with the Traveling McCourys at Riverbend. We were a last moment replacement act and the McCoury set was a surprise set as well. They jammed for thousands and thousands with a rumor going around that Phish was coming (they were up the road at Bonnaroo). We kept hearing all over the grounds and even at the hotel that someone BIG was coming. Leigh had no idea who the special guest would be. Right before the set kicked off, Leigh asked Ronnie McCoury, "So, who is the special guest?" Ronnie answered, "Well, you!" Leigh got a real kick out of that. Several of our Southern cousins showed up and we were so thrilled to see them. You should hear THEM sing.

Dumpling Valley was an excellent festival set in some beautiful rolling green hills. They talk about the friendliness of East Tennessee, and they aren't kidding. They brought us back for two encores after our evening set. The next morning we're at Cracker Barrel and had a few different folks come over to express how much they enjoyed our music. When we went to pay, our bill had been taken care of! Thank you so much to whomever extended that kindness.

Wind Gap is always a blast. We lucked out that our show was on sunny Sunday and not soggy Saturday. Harry is a real character, a successful promoter and excellent sound engineer. Wind Gap has such a rich history. I love looking at the bluegrass mural on stage of all the great pioneers in our music. It's a good thing to reflect on that history during the performance and I have an idea that was exactly Harry's intention.

Off to Smoked Country Jam and Jenny Brook. Thank you, Lord, for making me a bluegrasser!