Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Summer Tour Out West

Hello All You Big Bus Lovin' Daddios!

As we got back from the longest tour we've ever attempted, everyone asked the exact same question: "So, how was it?," which is a much harder question to answer honestly than you'd think.   A band the size of ours lives on the extreme ends of the spectrum.  If we told you all the hard parts you'd say, "Well that sounds terrible. I'd never want to do that."  But if we told you all the good parts you'd say, "That sounds like the best American road trip ever!"  The answer lies in the middle, but I think we'd all easily agree that the trip was really great.  We got to have the quintessential American road trip experiences; walking along the waterfront of Chicago in the summer, seeing The Badlands, going to Mt. Rushmore, driving through the beautiful state of Montana, walking around the mythical Sturgis SD, and going up in the Gateway Arch in St Louis.

We played 21 gigs in 25 days.  Some of them were unexpectedly awesome, and some of them were pretty rough.  But we expected as much on that front.  It is always nice to find little pockets of coolness, like Lander, WY, which reminded me a lot of Santa Fe as it was a melting pot of extremely different people who share a passion for live music.  Or the amount of people that came up to us saying they were from somewhere in the South and that our music reminded them of "home." We heard that a lot and loved it.

 Here are a few pics of our trip!

This is the stage we played on in Chicago.  This was a really cool place, right on the waterfront.  

Our first night in Montana we camped at a small little campground off the highway.  Joey and Wook got in some "Hippie Olympics" before we left. 

Part of our trip followed the legendary Lewis and Clark trail.  Pompey's Pillar was a natural landmark that became famous in westward expansion.  Clark carved his name into the rock here.  


We had time to take a great hike up to a swimming hole called "The Devil's Bathtub" in Spearfish SD.  

In Creede, CO we camped right beside a beautiful stream.  As you can see, we are hammock camping converts.  Sleeping in a hammock is 1000 times more comfy than sleeping on the ground!  

A quick stop at Mt Rushmore.

Some of the beautiful scenery we drove through.  

One of my favorite things we did was go up into the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.  We've driven by it many times, and it is always impressive to see from the highway.  But you don't realize how unbelievable this thing is until you stand under it and then go to the top.  It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.   Karen Moss and Beth Recchio had joined us by this part, and those two immediately double our party factor. 

Riding up in the tiny little "pod."

This is looking straight down.  Those tiny things are CARS down there!!

Looking straight up.  

Before you go... 


Thanks for keeping up with us, and please check out our schedule as we'll be playing a lot of southeastern shows in the next couple of months.

See ya there,
Brian and BDL

Upcoming Shows
8/15     Davidson, NC          Carrburritos
8/16     High Point, NC         Blue Bourbon Jack's
8/17     Private Event
8/24     Lawndale, NC          Clear Mountain View Music Festival
8/29     Washington, DC       Hill Country Backyard BBQ
8/30     Terra Alta, WV         Two Rivers Music and Arts Festival
8/31     Stuart, VA                Front Porch Festival
9/1       Kill Devil Hills, NC    Outer Banks Brewing Station
9/2       Beaufort, NC            Backstreet Pub

Thursday, July 11, 2013

BDL in early summer '13 - From Mountain Tops to Islands, BIG Festivals and Keller Williams

Hello All You Big Love Bussin' Daddios!

We just kicked off our big summer tour yesterday.  I know I'm more excited about seeing MT, WY, and SD than anywhere we've been so far.  We'll be posting pics, and I will do my best to get a travel blog posted on one of our days off.

If you have any friends in these places, please let them know we're on our way!
And don't forget our new album is now available on iTunes!

I wanted to give a recap of our summer so far, before we really get into the Western tour.  The highlight of early June was playing in Johnson City at the Blue Plum Festival with Keller Williams sitting in on the groovy disco Grateful Dead tune "Shakedown Street."  But for me, the behind-the-scenes story of how we got to that point is just as cool, and it is the perfect example of how one person can make such a big difference to a band like us.  I'm not sure where Teri Dosher saw us first, but several years ago we realized we had a new "super-fan," as we like to call them.   She would drive several hours with her daughter Zoe and come see us play, buy albums and t-shirts, and be generally very supportive, positive, laid-back and happy to be in the moment.  Teri started lobbying the owner of a great venue in Johnson City called "The Down Home" to get us a gig there.  It took a little while, but the owner, Ed Snodderly, finally got a date settled, and we came to play our first gig for him.  We had a small crowd that night, mostly all Teri's friends, but Ed just loved us.  Our manager, Tom, always reminds us that sometimes when we go to brand new places we're basically there to play for the owner.  Because when an owner of a venue gets behind you then it becomes much easier to build a crowd in the market.  That night Ed Snodderly became a new fan and then gave us a prime slot at the Blue Plum Festival, right before Keller and the Traveling McCoury's.  So as we're standing onstage with an American Jam Scene legend playing "Shakedown Street," in the back of my mind I'm thinking about how we got to this point, and how everything we do is an accumulation of everyone around us.  Never underestimate the passion of a single fan. 

In the middle of the month we headed to Goat Island off the coast of SC and played a party/celebration-of-life for a friend of ours who passed away earlier this year in a scuba accident.  It was a really beautiful day in every single way.  We've talked about Keith several times, and Joey wrote a really great fan of the week post about Keith.
**[If you're interested, I actually wrote a more detailed post about the experience over on Lonesome Banjo Chronicles.]

The Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival in Tryon, NC is another example of how much it helps to have festival and venue owners and promoters behind you.  Benton Wharton (think of all the huge shows at Pisgah Brewing near Asheville) has been a BDL fan from the very beginning.  This festival usually has very established and national names as headliners, like Donna the Buffalo and Acoustic Syndicate.  So to be able to jump up to that level in just a few years is really cool for us!

We also just had our first Ocracoke Island experience.  This place is just magical, especially when you have great venue owners like Red and Ashley of Gaffer's.  Could this be a possible NYE destination for the Love Bus?? Hmmmm.....we'll see!

All of this leads us to this past weekend, which I think might have been one of the most fun weekends in BDL history.  It's rare that we get to spend a full weekend traveling with friends and family, but everything worked out for this trip.  Scott and Joey's wives, Karen and Beth, were able to travel the whole weekend with us, along with our good friends Cassie Gold, and Travis and Jenny Viars.

We started at the Whitewater Center near Charlotte, NC.  This has turned into one of the coolest places in the entire state.  They've built a new festival-style stage on the "island" and are now hosting regional and national names in music on a continuous basis.  Once again we got to jam with Keller Williams.

As we escaped one of the two epic bursts of thunderstorm that day, we had one of the best backstage moments ever, as the girls decided to perform for us.

BDL friends and Family

In some ways it was a "Spinal Tap" weekend.   We went from playing for almost 8,000 people at the Whitewater Center near Charlotte, to driving high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern VA to a tiny little mountain lodge and resort (some of the scenes from Dirty Dancing were filmed there) to play for about 40 people.  But sometimes the most random nights turn out the best, and we finished early and were able to just enjoy being together on top of a mountain for a full night of nonsensical ninja shenanigans.  Just one of those perfect nights with good friends. 

Then there's The Big What.....

I don't know what to say about this festival.  There are some experiences that are almost beyond words and this is one of them.  Our brothers from the band Big Something, along with Jeremy Bell and the Possum Holler crew, have worked their butts off to make this one great experience.  I don't know of any other festival that has tapped into the burgeoning NC music scene on such a deep level.

We wanted a BIG surprise for the festival, and we realized that covering a Big Something song in front of Big Something at their very own festival would be perfect.  So we learned one of their most popular songs, "Amanda Lynn," and the looks on their faces when we played it was priceless.   One of them came up to me afterward and said, "moments like that are why we put on this festival!"

Casey Cranford jamming with us
Our good friend Ross from the band Mama's Love played part of the set with us on keys.
Wild Wooly What in the Woods!  (Kevin James photographer)

We ended the weekend playing for our good friend Brad Edwards.  Brad was one of the first to sign up for our Sunday Afternoon parties that helped with our "Live At Ziggy's" project.   Of course, being the awesome guy that Brad is, he used the party to raise money for the Alleghany County 4-H.   If there was ever a couple that embody everything amazing about Sparta, NC, it is Brad and Susan Edwards (below).  They put community and family before themselves, and it is because of people like this that Joey and I will always consider Sparta "home," no matter where we go.   
Brad and Susan Edwards
Thanks to everyone for jumping onto this crazy adventure with us!

Brian and BDL

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our night opening for Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

Hello All You Big Bus Lovin' Daddios!
This is the story of when we opened for Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band in Raleigh, NC.  At the end some of our closest friends have written about their experience of this night.  Enjoy...

Saturday morning, a week before the show, we were waking up at Scott and Karen's house and Scott got a call from his friend David White, the venue owner at Brackett Cedar Park where we were scheduled to play the following weekend.   David told Scott that he got a call from our agent about the possibility of us having to postpone our show for a chance to open for Bob Seger in Raleigh.  Our booking agent, Chris, has a ton of experience and doesn't throw out rumors like that unless there's some solid meat behind it, so we at least knew there was a good chance that this was real.  But even then, until something has a contract behind it things can change in a heartbeat, so you learn to not get too excited.  At the same time, wow, a full arena show!  A chance to experience the "Big Time" for just a few brief moments.  These are the moments that we spend years working up to.  Of course there were the obligatory high-brow grumblings of how commercial Seger is.  Musicians never miss an easy opportunity to establish their place on the high and mighty, yet illogical, real music vs commercial music spectrum.  It's a nearly automatic reflex conditioned by decades in the non-commercial world of folky Americana.  All that aside, a chance to play for 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 people?  Oh yeah!  (Little did we know the arena would be full when we started with upwards of 10,000 people!)

As Monday morning rolled around we got the word that the opportunity was there.  Seger management heard us and really liked our sound and wanted to confirm it fast.  Our manager, Tom, called me and started out with, "We have a big decision to make." He knew the Brackett Ceder Park gig was a hometown gig for Scott and people had been making plans to camp, so he was approaching it with utmost diplomacy.  I just started laughing and said, "There's no decision here, of course we'll do it!"  These are the opportunities that we've worked so hard for in the last few years, and they come few and far between, so you jump when they appear.

The week leading up to the show we were all asked the same question a hundred times, "Are you excited?"  I started thinking about this, and I realized it is both a yes and no answer.  Of course we're excited: this is huge!  But at the same time, all of us have played music for so long now that we've really learned to take things day by day, and we were concentrating much more on the Thursday show at the Berkeley Cafe in Raleigh, and the Friday show at High Rock Outfitters in Lexington.  Both venues are home-away-from-home places for us.  I'm sure we spent much less mental energy on the Seger show than anyone would believe.  Big shows like this can remain just an idea in the distant future until you're about to walk onstage in front of all those people, and then everything just hits you at once.  The beauty of this experienced mindset paid off as we played two of the best shows of our career both at the Berkeley and at High Rock that weekend.  You've heard of sports teams losing an easy game because they're "looking ahead to the next week."  Well, we've found a group that plays their hearts out whether it's 100 people or 10,000 people.

They asked us to get to the arena at 3:00 pm on Saturday, so we could play the age-old game of "hurry up and wait."  As we were driving in, someone commented how different it is to be able to find the venue by just following the signs for it off the interstate -- sometimes it's the little things.  A road crew of about 10 people walked out to help us carry all our gear into the cavernous opening at the back of the arena - always an odd feeling when we're so used to carrying everything ourselves.  When they walked out and asked if they could help, we almost found ourselves giving the perfunctory "Naw, we got it."  But then we realized it's their job, and they're really good at it.

We waited for a few hours and got the word that we can set ourselves up and sound check.  It is always such a pleasure working with sound crews of this caliber, people who know what they're doing and take pride in doing their job perfectly.

There is such a combination of emotions running through you as you walk onto a stage in front of a crowd of that size.  Nervousness is obviously one of the strongest, which is just plain human nature.  Excitement is there too.  You think about everything you've done to get to this point, like all those Monday nights we played at J Butler's in Clemmons, NC, packed into a tiny corner and having to share space with guys addicted to the digital slot machine.  You think about the future and wonder if this experience will happen again, or maybe with a little luck and hard work if this could be a normal thing.  The songs you've played 1000 times seem almost new to you -- as they should.  You look out into the 15 rows of people that you can see, noticing all the brand new faces, and wonder what they are thinking.  But mostly you just enjoy the music, because at the end of the day that's the one thing that drives us, to play music that we really love....and maybe, just maybe, make a good living doing it. 

Cass Copsey killin' it on trumpet!
Our direct emotional support team -- Beth, Christy, Karen, Megan
This really happened. 

 A couple of us did not expect them to turn off the house lights for our set.  A lot of times they will save that dramatic entrance effect for the headliner, but what do you know, they cut the lights and the stage was the only thing lit up.  As the crowd let out a louder cheer than we deserved I thought to myself, "Oh my God, they think we're Seger!  I hope they don't boo us when they realize we aren't!"  I hustled up to Scott and told him, "They think we're Seger.  You should probably tell them we aren't."  Try and head off those boos before they happened.  Scott nailed it with his engaging, upbeat stage presence that crowds just love. 

I think that we were all feeling pretty good about our set, fluctuating between "I think they like us" to "At least they're not booing."  At the end of Sweet Child when the crowd jumped to their feet and gave a huge arena style ROAR, we took a big collective breath of air and knew that we were doing pretty good.  We launched right into Sweet Water with our friend and old sound engineer, Cass Copsey, blowing the hell out of a trumpet, and again, another standing ovation as we walked off-stage.  It felt good, really good.  All the practice, all the shows where nobody shows up, all the rough days traveling, all of that got us here, and it felt great.

 I want to say one last thing before I let some of our closest friends and family describe their experience on this night -- Seger was really amazing.  He's in his upper 60's and his voice is as strong as ever.  All of the glowing reviews of his shows this year are well deserved.  Even his song, "Turn The Page," -- the song that's been overplayed on classic rock stations to the point of exhaustion -- sounded fresh, and I found myself caught up with it.  Any performer that can play songs that are decades old and give them a fresh new life, as if they were just written, is someone that deserves much artistic respect.  I expected to enjoy his show, but I had no idea just how much I would.  Seger sets the bar for an amazing career, and I'm glad he's still going strong. 

We were lucky to have some of our closest friends and family join us here.  A few of them have sent me paragraphs describing their experience.  You have to remember, the 5 of us have been at every BDL show together for the last year, but we've never seen a BDL show.  We have no idea what it is like from the audience standpoint.  So here's some audience perspective from people who've seen us every step of the way. 

Jennifer Swenk:
I was excited all week about BDL playing at PNC arena.  As the days and hours clicked by my excitement (and anxiety) grew.  I felt so nervous for them, getting on stage and playing in front of 10,000 people!  Not worried that it wouldn't go good, because I knew they would bring it, but just that nervous anxious feeling you get when something big is about to happen.  Sitting with my friends we were all a flutter, talking to each other, making BDL connections around us, and waiting, waiting for the clock to finally strike 8.  When the lights went down and they took the stage it was surreal.  Watching our boys walk around the bend and climb the stairs was magical.  The next 35 minutes went by in a blur.  I kept looking at the crowd and watching more and more heads bop up and down and knees dancing in the seats.  I watched as our boys played their hearts out, they left nothing on the table, they were all in.  The energy emitting from the stage didn't take long to ignite the crowd; and by the time Sweet Child of Mine rolled around, the crowd was hooked!  We were all teared up and filled with immense pride watching it unfold.  It was amazing, one of the most special things I've experienced in my life and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it.

Jeremy Bell:
I was fortunate enough to join BDL last Saturday as part of the crew, so I had all access to the entire arena from 3pm until after midnight. I started my day helping the guys unload the van, which didn't take very long because the arena had plenty of staff to make this happen with ease. After that I went into their dressing room where it was a typical green room scene, snacks on the table, Swenk picking the banjo, Ashley smiling and talking to whoever came through the door, Scott Moss being his normal cheerful self, Joey with his clever one liners, taking it all in without even a hit of nervousness, and Scotty Lewis keeping it all together and keeping the vibe in the room nice and calm. I was probably the most nervous of everybody in there, and all I had to do was listen to the music that was getting ready to happen. 

At 7:55 I was standing on the side of the stage with all 5 of them, I could sense a little nervousness, a little anxiety, and a ton of excitement. At 7:59 iPhone time, the lights in the arena went down and the crowd erupted with applause, I'm sure thinking "Bob Seger is coming on early!" The five guys I had been hanging out with all day walked up on that stage like they owned it and took their respective positions like they've done hundreds of times before. The crowd was still cheering when Scott Moss said "We're Big Daddy Love from Winston Salem North Carolina and all I can say is wooooooooooow!" From that point on the 19,731 [editor's note: closer to 10,000] people in there were hooked. They opened with Family and the crowd was still very much into them, then Swenk started playing... the place went nuts again when he started playing that banjo, and they all knew they were in for a treat. 

I walked from the side of the stage, through the metal barricade and into the floor seating area to go find a seat, instead I found a beer vendor. I got in the very short line behind 3 women, all dancing like they knew this song. Less than a minute later, and $8 poorer I was on my way again. I decided early in the day that I was going to watch the BDL set from a seat as far away from the stage as I could get because I never get to experience them like that. I found a seat in the very last row straight in front of the stage just below the luxury boxes. From Scotty's kick drum shaking my shirt to Joey's smoking guitar,  this was by far the best seat in the house!

I sat there in awe and truly couldn't believe what I was seeing how comfortable they all looked, I could see them very well on the 2 jumbo screens on each side of the stage. From song to song, all 5 of them owned that crowd and it was very obvious that they were doing what they were born to do.  After every song the crowd cheered like they were seeing the band they had waited all day to see all day, and wanted more.

Scott Moss, Brian Swenk, Joey Reccio, Ashley Sutton, and Scotty Lewis are by far some of the best people I have met in this crazy North Carolina music scene and they deserve the chance to play in front a crowd that size. I hope that this opens up many doors for them. They certainly deserve it.

Teri Dosher:
While sitting at the PNC Arena Saturday night, waiting for BIG DADDY LOVE to take the stage, I thought back to December 2009.  We had made a road trip to Winston Salem to see Yarn play at the Garage, after the show I met Ashley Sutton and he said I should check out his new band BIG DADDY LOVE. Rhythm and Roots in Bristol the next September was my first chance, I was sucked in right away, not just because the music was great, but you could tell they loved what they did, and they loved the people who loved them, they had what I call really good karma.  I was hooked, I’ve traveled many miles, and visited many venues to see them play live, sang their praises far and wide, and I have made so many wonderful friends along the way.  The guys in BIG DADDY LOVE are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and their fans are as well. I knew one day, if the world was right, they would get the attention they deserve.  So Saturday night, when they took the stage in front of all of those people, I could feel magic was about to happen, and when they wrapped up “Sweet Child of Mine” (which also happened to be the song that let me know “everything was gonna be alright” the first time I heard Scott Moss take the lead) and 10,000 stood up and cheered, it brought tears to my eyes.  It was a beautiful night for all of those who have loved BIG DADDY LOVE from the very beginning and for all of those who got a chance to finally hear them for the first time.

Kelly Farmer:
As our group walked down to our seats, it was exciting to see that most of the arena had already been filled with fans.  They were going to be glad they got there early.  Any similarities to other opening bands stopped when Joey hit the slide for the first time.  I laughed out loud as I watched people snap to attention.  The BDL “hook” had been set.  Conversations were stopped.  As BDL rolled through the set list, phones came out, people started getting on their feet, and the dancing began. After a 35 minute set and two standing ovations, the new fans were high-fiving, fist-bumping, and smiling that "BDL" smile.  Even though they came for Seger, I knew the Love Bus was going to be a lot more crowded on the way home.

Camille Hall:
Words cannot begin to describe the emotions I felt as BDL walked onto the stage Saturday night in Raleigh.   It was if I was walking onto the stage with them.   My heart was racing, my hands were sweating,  my knees were shaking  and tears were falling from my eyes.   I have believed in the talent found in this band for four years so it was like I was living a dream also.   They did an incredible job.  Hearing them with that size and quality of sound equipment was like hearing them for the first time.   Their performance was so spot on that an audience of thousands who had never heard them play before came to their feet.   I didn't get much sleep Saturday night  and my over three hour drive home Sunday was through a down pour.  I walked into work Monday morning with swollen red eyes and "dead" on my feet.  When my co-workers asked me if it was worth it my only response to them could be a very enthusiastic, "HELL YEAH  it was worth it!"

Jenny Viars (or Dancing Lemur):
When I found out this opening slot for Seger was happening, my second question to Brian was "And do I get to go and shoot??" (right after "ARE YOU MAKING THAT UP??"). They were nice enough to try to get me a press pass for Seger's set too, but I wasn't even vaguely disappointed when the answer was no. I wasn't going to see Seger; I was going to see BDL hit that big stage. I spent the whole week leading up to it bursting with pride and excitement; I could not shut up about it to anyone who would listen. Once we got there Saturday afternoon, I found out that I'd be able to shoot on stage as long as the band was cool with it (hint: THEY WERE) and that unlike the press photographers, I'd have the run of the arena during BDL's set. I started out on stage left side at the start of the set; I started grinning as soon as they hit the first note and the crowd gave the kind of roar you can only hear in an arena. I made my way around the back of crowd, stopping here and there to shoot. I danced in the aisles and sang along, and I kept on smiling at the people who looked at me oddly from their seats. I wiped tears away, too. I finally made it onto the back of the stage and climbed all the way up onto a top tier drum riser, which gave me (in my opinion) the best view in the whole place: the band, the lights, and the HUGE crowd. These guys work SO HARD, and it was more than right to see them tearing it up for a whole crowd of brand new appreciative fans. The second best part of the night happened while Seger played, and we all went up to the first level balcony and met up with several BDL fans. We hugged, celebrated, listened to a music icon, and basked in pride and happiness for this band and the family we've all formed. I kept noticing strangers approach BDL members and compliment them on their set. Get used to it, guys...this will be the norm soon enough!

Thanks everyone for sticking with us through this crazy journey!  See ya soon!

Brian and BDL 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BDL Winter Tour, Mid-West and Rockies!

Hello All You Big Bus Lovin' Daddios!

We are a little over halfway through our winter tour through the Midwest and Rocky Mountains.  We've driven through 2 blizzards and made some really great friends along the way.   Here's a little glimpse.

We started off by hitting some of our new favorite places in Ohio: Dayton and Columbus.  We've started seeing some familiar faces at these shows and they are bringing friends.

Our first show in Chicago was great as well, as we had some family from Possum Holler show up!  Todd Pettit and Lynn Bryan were in Chi-town visiting friends so they brought a big group to our show.

Possum Holler Rules!!

One of our favorite places to play is in Evansville, Indiana, and it is the perfect example of a passionate venue owner who is able to create a music scene from scratch.  Amy Rivers-Word has done such a great job in building a venue that bands just love to play! 

Any venue that has a skeleton riding a deer head with bras hanging from its knees is going to be awesome!
Lamasco Bar and Grill
As we were heading out west a car pulls up to us at 70mph on the highway and a guy just hands a Grateful Dead CD out the window to Ashley!  We have no idea why this happened!  But in a strange occurrence of synchronicity this album was recorded in 1970 on the exact day as he handed it to us!  Did he know this?  We'll never know. 

Scott gets some great shots from the van

We miss our doggies and families when we travel, so we find some foster doggies to give some lovin' to. 

We had a special guest for part of the trip, the famous Mrs. Karen Moss!   She's super badass and works security for us when we need.  She'll straight knock a sucka out!

A van full of MOSS!

As we were leaving Wichita KS we experienced our first blizzard, as we basically tried to drive out of it all day.  I heard Wichita got as much as 2 feet of snow.  We made it to Aurora CO before we just had to pull over and get a hotel room.   

The next morning the roads were clear and we drove to Nederland CO.  Most people know this cool little mountain town as an early home base for the great jamgrass band Leftover Salmon.  

We love to find local coffee shops to hang out in, and this one was one of the best.   It was 3 caboose cars all connected. 

Nederland, CO

We had a really great show at the Pioneer Inn (the locals refer to it as the "P.I.")  We've always had a feeling that CO people would dig the BDL sound, and we were right.  The crowd was amazing and boogied their tushes off, and a super nice couple invited us back to their house for the evening, which was really great since hotels there were very expensive.

Here's a shot of new BDL family, The Colorado Chapter.  

Nederland has a famous "Carousel of Happiness" run by a guy named "Bigfoot."  Wook had to try it out.  We think it works. 

Happy Wook!
So let me set this scene up for you.  We met some great people, but one of the funniest was a guy named Bud.   He found this kids toy that borders on hilarious and freaky.  Here it is:

So Bud decided that he would take this toy and wear it around his neck to the Further Concert (surviving members of the Grateful Dead) that night in Denver, and only communicate to people with his new toy.  Nederland people rock!

We headed to Keystone and played at a famous venue called The Goat.   Every now and then we get put up in super nice places and this was one of those times!   Here's a view from our hotel. 

We left Keystone for our 7 hour drive to Santa Fe NM.  This has to be one of the most amazing drives we've ever had in the 3.5 years of the band, for the sheer drastic change of the scenery.  We went from snow covered peaks to prairies to desert.  It was unbelievable.  Here's a few shots.

As most of you probably read on our FB post, our Santa Fe show was really amazing.  A friend described Santa Fe as "A little pocket of coolness, much like Austin, Boone,and Asheville."  We totally agree.   We also got a taste of the power of radio, as people knew who we were already. 

We left Santa Fe yesterday and drove straight into a blizzard.  I guess you might call us lucky, but Chicago experienced its coldest temps of the year when we were there, and Denver just got its biggest snowfall!   It's how we roll.  

After we got the van into a hotel parking lot--barely--we walked about half a mile in the blizzard to a Chili's that was still open and found out they had a two-for-one beer special. Small consolation prize for a rough day.

Thanks for hanging with us.  To all our friends, old and new, we hope to see ya soon!

Brian and BDL.

Upcoming shows (visit our Facebook events page for show details):

2/28      Durango, CO                 The Summit
3/1        Manitou Springs, CO     Ancient Mariner
3/2        Denver, CO                   Quixote's True Blue
3/8        Wilmington, NC             The Whiskey
3/9        Beaufort, NC                 The Backstreet Pub
3/14      Raleigh, NC                    Berkeley Cafe
3/15      High Point, NC               Blue Bourbon Jack's
3/16      Dobson, NC                   The Coffee Bean
3/17      Boone, NC                     Murphy's

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 - Year in Review for BDL

Right before our main stage set at Floyd Fest. 
Hello all you Big Bus Lovin' Daddios!

What a year huh?!

Our transition of gaining Scott Moss and Scotty Lewis is definitely the biggest story for us, and what a ride it has been.   I can't tell you how many conversations we've all had with long time fans who told us they were at first "skeptical," but after hearing the new line-up were amazingly surprised at how good the music sounds, and, of course, that is what drives us the most.  So to everyone that came up and told us this, we want to give a huge "Thank You!"  

Here's the initial announcement that introduced everyone to Scott Moss.

A month later we were joined by the dreadlocked powerhouse of a drummer, Mr. Scotty Lewis, from Richmond, VA, and we immediately took off to Colorado for an amazing tour.   I had to write about one of the nights deep in the mountains of CO, and looking back I think it was my favorite night of the whole year.   We are currently making plans to go back to CO in late February and hook back up with Jack Ten High, our  friends from this story.  

Scotty in his "happy place"
When we returned in June, we got to open up for a true musical legend, Mr. Willie Nelson! I tried to describe the experience here.  

A huge part of our summer for the last few years has been the incredible FloydFest.  Unfortunately we won't be there this year (I believe we might be back in CO during that month), but we can't wait to come back.  Here are some of our favorite pictures of this year.   It was here we learned that L Shape Lot were truly our "brothers from other mothers."  We had so much fun sharing sets and talking smack about each other from the stage.

Our view!

Our great friends L Shape Lot!

BDL at Floyd Fest with Andrew Hendryx of Yarn

A great shot by our friend Roger Gupta at the Pink Floyd Stage

Another memorable festival was The Big What? hosted by our friends Big Something and Jeremy Bell in Prospect Holler, NC.   We debuted our cover of the great song "Rift" by Phish at this festival.  I wrote about the process of learning such a complicated song in this travel blog post.   

This video starts at the last part of "Let it Grow" continues through "20 Acre Farm," and "Rebecca" -->"Up To You," and finally ends about halfway through "Circle Around the Sun."

We also had a blast at our Alice in Wonderland themed charity show at High Rock Outfitters in Lexington NC.   In case you're wondering, Scott decided to be "Alice COOPER in Wonderland!"  Pretty good twist on things.  
Love Bus in Wonderland

And then we get to our November Ziggy's show!  This was probably our favorite show of the year, along with the Willie show, of course.  The Heritage and Big Something absolutely killed it during their sets, and we ended up getting some fantastic video and audio recordings that we are working to release this spring as a DVD.  The video will feature some neat footage caught by a Go-Pro Camera that was attached to the headstock of the banjo and electric guitar for some up-close shots of furiously fast flying fingers.  We can't wait to get this live album/DVD out.  

With our friends from Big Something and The Heritage. 

The saturation of music festivals through the summer months only means one thing...we need some killer wintertime festivals to look forward to.  Our favorite venue owners, Chris Phelps and Brittany Wilson, have stepped up and started the NC Music and Arts Festival in a beautiful downtown theater in Lexington, NC.  We had so much fun here.

NC Music and Arts Fest

We'd like to take a second and list our favorite albums of the year.  We've been talking about doing this for some time now since we hear a lot of new music in our travels and some of it just really blows us away.  Two bands that aren't listed but have to be mentioned are Possum Jenkins and Folk Soul Revival.   We listen to their albums a lot while we are traveling.

Scott Moss -  Shovels and Rope "O, Be Joyful"
Ashley Sutton - Lucas Nelson and Promise of the Real "Wasted"
Brian Swenk - Aaron Burdett "Breathing Underwater"
Joey Recchio - The Kevin Maines Band "American Hustle" 
Scotty Lewis - Taylor Swift "Red"

In 2012 we started venturing up north, to places we've never been before such as Chicago, Burlington, VT, Massachusetts, New York, and surprisingly one of our favorite new states is Pennsylvania!  Our manager, Tom Baggott, had been telling us that the hills and mountains of PA are very similar to where we were raised and the people there will  really connect with our "Appalachian Rock."  He was absolutely right.  We also met another band that we were able to connect with, Miz.  A great group of guys.  

Through all the big festivals and shows we've experienced this year and were lucky enough to have documented by great photographers like Jenny Viars, Roger Gupta, and Milo Farineau, there were so many smaller shows that were just as much fun because the people there had amazing energy and loved the music.   One in particular that will always stand out to us was playing the staff after-party in a large covered gazebo for the Camp Barefoot Music Festival.  Everyone was exhausted and had just worked their butts off, but it was just one of those nights where the music got going and everyone caught a second wind and started boogying down.  We had so much fun at that party, which shows that the big stages and lights and sound systems are nice, but what really matters is just playing music for people who love it.   

So like I said before, "What a year, huh?"  So much change along with so many amazing experiences that we never imagined would be possible.   We'll be slam packed this coming year, going out west and up north more than ever before.  So we hope to see you soon, and thanks for everything you've done for us.  We couldn't do any of this without y'all!

Brian, Scott, Joey, Scotty, and Ashley