Eric 2010/03/26 1:27pm

We just returned from a whirlwind trip to California. Our time was short, but very sweet. Mike, Leigh, and I flew from Albany last Thursday on a 6 a.m. flight and landed in San Diego around noon. No, our first gig was not in San Diego. Leigh was able to book much more reasonable flights for the three of us there and an unreal deal on rental cars, so we decided to drive from San Diego to Morgan Hill, a beautiful town not far from San Jose. So, after all that time in the air, we hopped on Highway 5 and stayed on it for about eight hours. Clayton and Joe luckily flew into San Jose. I'm not sure how they made out so well, but they're good guys, so I won't complain. It made me sad to see all the beautiful soil I'd seen on my last trip in that area turned to dust and so many unhealthy or dying trees, but I'm no politician and not smart enough to figure these things out. I just hope and pray California and the entire Southwest can get these water issues sorted out.

Joe, Mike, and I went on a hike in Uva Canyon Park bright and early on Friday with at least a little guilt. I had called home, and Corina said it was snowing in Brainardsville. Our healthy hike past waterfalls and beautiful Ponderosa pines in the California sunshine was good for the soul. We got back to town in time for Mexican food at Jesus' before soundcheck. Tim Edes, the promoter, seemed especially upbeat in anticipation of the show at the Grange Hall, a sell-out. It just felt like it would be a good night, and I was certain it would be after hearing the opener, The Tuttles with AJ Lee. My goodness, what talent! Molly Tuttle has such a unique voice and guitar style and is only seventeen. Her brothers on mandolin and guitar, twelve and fourteen, repectively, were equally impressive. AJ Lee is twelve and sings like she is two or three times that age. She's too young to sound so seasoned and to phrase so well. My sage advice to her? Keep your hair just like it is. It looks like Emmylou's circa 1977. Giving hair advice made more sense to me than telling her anything about singing. She knows what she's doing. I believe we'll hear a lot more from these folks in the years to come. They really riled up the crowd and it carried over into our show. I've said so many times how easy it is to play when the crowd is into it. We had such a great time that it was hard to get to sleep even though we knew that we had to take off for San Diego at 8 a.m. in the morning.