Before we knew it it was time to set up and play. We had played the inaugural event last year and had a great time warming up a saturday night crowd for the legendary newgrasser John Cowen. This year they had another great lineup with Great American Taxi and the Emmitt/Nershi project out of Colorado among others. After we took a little extra time to work out some technical problems (see tyler’s future blog-it was the theme of the tour) we were off and running. The set was super fun with a nice big crowd gathered to help us close down the festival. One of the highlights was getting Pari and some others from the audience on stage to dance the Macarena with Rebecca. (Pari is kind of famous in Montana since she shook Barack Obama’s hand in the Republic of Butte earlier in the spring) The Clumsy Lover judges gave round one of the the Great Reba/Pari Dance Off to Rebecca! But we could be biased. And Rebecca did have a vote. There’s no fairness in this world. It’s all who you know my friends. Speaking of which, Pari does know Barack and we know Pari so that means we kind of know Barack by association. (Three Degrees of Barack is a wonderful film by the way. I encourage everyone to check out if they get a chance. Just ask for it at your local video store. do they still have video stores? I think the last time i was in a video store Planes, Trains and Automobiles was a new release) Maybe we should have given first prize to Pari after all. Perhaps Obama might hire us for his 45th birthday party next year or something. News flash: We just did a recount and Pari has emerged the winner! You know where to find us Barack. Just get a hold of Pari. And you too McCain for that matter. You only turn 73 once! Get on that internet and punch email@example.com We’ll get back to you. The show finished off on a high note and we were quickly packed up and off into the Montana night. Thanks again to everyone at the festival for all their hard work and hospitality. It’s really fun seeing festivals establish themselves as yearly institutions. We headed right back to the hotel and had a nice band meal along with Chris’s wife Rachel who had driven in for a few days of merriment and to help Sandpoint Star with sales of our merchandise.Thanks once again Star! After dinner, half of us went to sleep.The rest of us were bored so after talking to bj the bartender he called a few friends and we organized the Great Missoula Parking Lot Party of 2009 featuring our new friends from Kentucky. The Kentucky Kontingent! We met everybody out at the van, yanked out guitars banjo’s and mandolins and starting making lots of music/racket. This went on for quite a while. Strangers dropped by. Even the police. (And i don’t mean Sting, Stewart and Andy) They usually do eventually. But as long as there is no open alcohol they feel the good Canadian vibes and let us play on. We usually tug at their heartstrings by busting into Amazing Grace or Will the Circle Be Unbroken as they arrive. It works every time and usually draws tears. We had a similar cool time up in Boulder Colorado a few weeks ago with our jamming partners Megan and Shanti from the Tippits! On this night in Montana, the Canadians outlasted the Kentuckians. Or maybe they just danced more and had expended all their calories. At any rate people started falling asleep so we knew it was time to turn in for the night to get a refreshing hour of shut-eye before our 6 am departure. Thank goodness Chris and Rebecca got their 40 winks and guided their favourite sleeping beauties safely back to Canada!
Sure is a beautiful time of year to be in Montana. But i think that every time I’m in Montana no matter what the season, so i guess it’s a bit of a moot point. Although i will say that winter driving can be treacherous. But it’s still beautiful! We woke up in Helena around the crack of noon and grabbed a sandwich at Montana Wheat Company. it’s a tradition by now i guess. We have quite a few traditions after all these years. Most of them involve eating establishments. And it’s a list about as long as my arm. Famous Daves and Fuddruckers in the west, Chick Filet and the Waffle House in the south (that’s where i take my dates-good value and great lighting)…..and of course the one and only Taco Bell in Ellensburg where we make our final fuel stop before heading back to Vancouver. Made extra special if Flo is our cashier. She’s got sass. She’s got class. And i especially love the way she grimaces every time i ask for a water glass! With our stomachs full, we headed down the highway a couple of hours to Missoula where Molly and the good folks at the festival greeted us with hugs smiles and guess what? More food! It would have been rude to say no of course so we went upstairs to the top floor of a tall building and sampled the fare. There was fruit. There were vegetables. There were nuts. We could clearly see their nuts. There were more sandwiches. And a nice selection of wine, beer, water, juice and absinthe. o.k. they didn’t have absinthe but they did have a lot of thirst quenching beverages as it was about 95 degrees out. After Molly set us up with the grub she made her way to the elevator. As the door was almost closed we heard her shout out through the crack “oh rats!” We assumed she forgot something. Or maybe there were rats on the elevator? Who knows. We never did find out. it’s still a mystery. All i know is that i haven’t heard that expression since the late 70’s when my grandparents would bust it out if they got to the bank a minute after closing. Or when i ran over the garden hose with the lawnmower. Or there was something burning on the barbecue….