WHO-KNEWS?-LETTER #14

“Old Joe Jumps”

9 AFRICANS, 3 AMERICANS, AND A CANADIAN

The first excursion following the last knewsletter was my longest tour to date – 6 weeks, 33 shows – from Feb-Mar with Béla Fleck’s Africa Project.  We were 13 on a 12 bunk bus, 7 from Mali (Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba), 2 from Tanzania  (Anania Ngoliga & John Kitime), plus tour mgr, translator, myslef, and Béla.  As stage mgr, merch boss (“King for Money” as Bassekou called me), backline tech, and fiddler, my days were full.  However, I did manage to escape reality once for a 3D showing of Avatar.

This tour offered various levels of communication, from full conversation to short words and lots of repetition.  In the latter case, a rapport of silly human tricks, dance moves, handshakes, and funny phrases developed nicely. “Big problem for you; You big problem today; and This bull*#@% has got to cease” were the most popular.  The weather on the trip was the coldest many had ever experienced. We had snow quite often and had to buy a few jackets.  Electronics were in high demand and 5 laptops were purchased – 3 to folks that couldn’t read. (I questioned the logic and my assistance in this but came to the conclusion that a motivation towards literacy, technology understanding, and world connectivity outweighed my initial reaction.)  Once again, music is the great unifier, transcending social, economic, and religious differences.  The playing kicked ass, but what made it even better was the friendships that were born. Open invitations to each others homes are mutual.  (See Photo Gallery)

PHOTO GALLERIES

Right before the Fleck/Africa tour, I got a new camera – a real camera – and there was no end of great subjects.  I’ve posted a mix of recent photos and backlogged ones.  This go around you will find: Africa Project, Jayme Stone Record, Nashville Flood, Fall Colors, Truck Graveyard, Aspen Mine, Ireland, and China.

BIG TOUR: OPENING FOR THE ZAC BROWN BAND

From August 11-22, I will be on the road opening for the Zac Brown Band Breaking Southern Ground Tour. A slightly different Colorfools will be in effect – Matt Mangano is still on bass, but on drums will be Christian Dugas (of The Duhks). Also opening will be the Wood Brothers.  Check the tour dates to the right and please come support this great opportunity.  Look for follow up Casey gigs in the fall and spring to return to the ZBB tour areas.

JAYME STONE RECORD & TOURING

Two weeks after the Africa tour, I headed north to Tornoto to work on a new record for Canadian banjoist Jayme Stone. The music was based on folk dance forms from varying traditions.  We scratched the surface of Bulgaria, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Italy, Tunisia, Brazil and North America.  The thread holding this diversity together was a core band of Jayme, Greg Garrison (bass), Grant Gordy (guitar), and myself.  This outfit has two tours scheduled: 2 weeks in October, and 2-3 weeks next March and April.  The Canadian release is Sept. 28.  US release to follow. (See Casey’s Photo Gallery) / (See Photos by Vanessa Heins)

NASHVILLE’S FLOOD

Most folks have heard about the flood disaster that hit Nashville at the end of April.  The rains hit while my family and I – and many Nashvillians – were at Merlefest.  Conversations buzzed with worry about homes and how to travel through, around, and to Nashville in the coming days.  We called our family, friends, and neighbors for updates on our homes and theirs.  Many were lucky, many were not.  It seemed no one was without some water intrusion.  I was lucky.  I live 4 blocks from the flooded river (50ft rise!), but happen to be on the high part of the street.  Less than 10 houses away, the road turned river.  Many houses on that street are complete losses. Friends are just beginning to get their homes back in order, Opryland Hotel and mall is still shut down, vegetation that was underwater is still dirty with muck.  The biggest blow to the music community was the flooding of SoundCheck – the main instrument storage, rehearsal and stage supply facility in town.  It was practically on the river and millions of dollars of instruments were lost.  If you’d like to make a donation, the Nashville Musicians Union is accepting here….   I went and snapped a few pictures of my neighborhood and downtown a day after the river crested. (See Photo Gallery)

TWO COLORFOOLS CHANGES

Christian Dugas will be playing drums with me on the ZBB tour.  Long-time drummer Tom “TommyG” Giampietro will be leaving Nashville for Amherst, MA. He’s accepted a great teaching position at the University of MA.  We’re very excited for him but will miss his presence in Nashville.  I guess I’ll need to book a Northeast tour.  The second difference is more subtle, but if you look close enough you’ll see a wedding ring on the finger of Matt Mangano. Congrats and welcome!

NOT SO NEW KNEWS…

Oog Store Oog never ceases looking for new life experience. Perhaps it will become your soundtrack for a few moments – wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Have a listen online right now, or send yourself one today.

You can learn more by watching the Making of Oog and the Meaning of Oog, or read some words about it by others at Pop Matters and Blog Critics.

Don’t forget to stop by my website cASEYdRIESSEN.com once in a while for new photos, videos, and rambles.

ENCORE

We played paintball for Matt’s bachelor party.  Here’s a lesson I learned: If you get shot in the arm while crouching, don’t curl up and hide your face, because the barrage of paintballs that follows can bypass your mask and hit you on the forehead.  Not only does it sting (doesn’t do it justice) and the sound of the impact echos throughout your skull, it will leave a proud battle scar for the wedding pictures.

three cheers for washable paint and aspirin,

casey

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