Tour Journal 04.17.15: The Bus



The newest aspect for most of us on this tour is the bus. All of last year for the Carolina Chocolate Drops was spent in vans; two different 15-passenger Fords, a Sprinter in the UK and Europe and couple of mini-vans when our transmission ate itself on the way to the West Coast. Though the long drives across prairies, mountains, and deserts could be grueling, I knew what to expect.

The view inside a bunk...Though there were some initial apprehensions, we’ve all adapted pretty quickly. Though the bunks are rather small, its great to be able stretch out completely, which is virtually impossible in a van.

Most of the driving happens at night, so in the mornings you can get out, walk around town a bit, get some exercise, find a coffee shop, etc. I feel refreshed before a gig instead of achy from sleeping in sitting position.

I can be weird  sleeping while on the interstate though.There’s a lot of irregular motion and vibration. Something might rattle in a way that makes it hard for you drift off or a sudden bump can pull you out of a dream.

Still, on the whole, it’s a great way to travel. Having a fixed point in your life when you find yourself in a new town everyday with new faces and a new environment to learn is very comforting. A rolling home-away-from-home.

Acoustic Guitar Amplification – Part One: Pickups

A Boy and his rather blurry guitar...

It’s inevitable that any performing acoustic guitarist will have to consider amplification, but the glut of options can make it hard to find the right setup for your situation. This is the first in a series posts I’ll be doing that aim to shed some light on various aspects of acoustic amplification.. This particular article will cover the differences between the common pickup types and their strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading

The SlingCatcher

Earlier this week, while perusing my local electronics store, I ran across Sling Media’s SlingCatcher, a set-top box that works with the company’s Slingbox. The two work together to stream your home cable and DVR content over a network or the web to be viewed on another TV in your house or across the world. But the SlingCatcher has a few other notable features.

I’ve be seriously considering the Roku Box as an alternative to cable tv, but I want something that will give me Hulu and Youtube on my LCD TV, as well as Netflix.

This is, essentially, what the SlingCatcher does. But, instead of getting the stream straight from Youtube, it gets it as a redirect from your PC.
Continue reading


As a musician, one tends to be most active in the evenings. That’s when the shows are, naturally, because most everyone is at work or school during the day. So that leaves the daytime for non-performance activities.
So, this is my third day in a row at an internet cafe. One can get ones morning coffee, have lunch, catch up on correspondence, and attend to various other online activities for hours on end.
I end up getting quite ansty after about three hours, but, all in all, its quite pleasant. But I’m always very glad for the onset of evening, the removal of my butt from a vinyl chair and the promise of a gig…

Peach’s Grill

After, an unintentional, twenty minute detour, we found our way to the Tuesday open mic at Peach’s Grill in Yellow Springs, Ohio just outside of Dayton, which is, seemingly, a very hip college town.
Peach’s Grill has a very nice sound system, with a dedicated sound man for the evening (which is rare for an open mic). We were also in the company of some great players as well.
But most importantly, they have an obscene number of beers on tap (something like 25) and pretty good food from what I hear. If your in the Dayton area and your looking for some thing to do, this is definately a place to look in to.

A week in Dayton…

So, we’re hanging in Dayton for the week. Our initial plan was to be in Columbus, IN by now, but the venue we were supposed to play here on Saturday was went out of business. We did manage to get an other show scheduled for Thursday, but that means we have no chance to hit open mics in Columbus before our show on Friday. We could go up and back, but that would mean a additional four hour round trip.
So, instead, we’re trying find open mics in Dayton. We went to one in last night at a bar call Chapter II which led to us finding a place to go tonight. Which is great ’cause, we were getting a little worried that we’d not find anything. But hey, that’s just the way it works sometimes.