Thomas, West Virginia

A couple of hours outside of Pittsburgh along a beautifully scenic highway is the small town of Thomas, West Virginia. The Purple Fiddle is in a building from the turn of the century that at one time was the town’s general store. John books all kinds of singer songwriters and bands in from all over the States but he seems to have a particular affinity for Canadian bands.  Thomas is one of those towns where cell phones don’t work but they have a strong wifi signal at the venue so everyone spent a couple of hours emailing and Skyping and Facebooking and catching up with friends and family back home until it was time to play. We ripped through a good long healthy set.  I could hear my guitar and vocal chrystal clearly so that added to my enjoyment immensely. The best approach to mix the Clumsy Lovers is to set all the instruments at roughly the same level and let us iron out the dynamics.

Sound techs tend to keep the acoustic guitar really low in the overall mix.  An additional problem is that when I do take the occasional solo, it tends to get turned up to a proper volume right about the time the break has already reached it’s stunning and magical conclusion. I did travel with an EQ pedal for a while that I utilized to boost the signal of the guitar at times but that would sometimes have the opposite effect as the sound tech would wonder why he or she could suddenly hear the guitar so clearly, and they would overcompensate by quickly turning it down. Even worse, at the end of my solo I would deactivate the volume boost and because it had already been turned down out front it would be even less audible in the mix! I’m Peter Griffin and that’s what really grinds my gears! The obvious solution is to travel with a sound tech, but as we are trying to operate on a shoestring budget we only occasionally travel with one. And besides, two less asscheeks on the road means fresher air and more room for the rest of us.

We had some fans drive in from various places, including Baltimore so I was quizzing them on their take as to the accuracy of the HBO series The Wire. They said they had a friend who is a Baltimore police officer so I gave them my email and asked them to pass it on to their friend so we could start a dialogue. Oddly, enough it’s been two weeks and I haven’t heard from her. I guess the city of Baltimore keeps their officers pretty busy, or maybe she’s on vacation or something.

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