“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon;to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
– Henry James
As I write this it is a summer afternoon in northwest Florida, where I am holed up writing songs for what I hope will be a new album. It’s hot – I can never remember nor imagine how sticky and steamy it gets here in midsummer. The frequent rain showers are welcome, and sometimes very dramatic. Florida thunderstorms are violent and beautiful and a good reminder that we are not in charge here…
And speaking of man vs. nature, the BP/Deepwater oil spill has finally reached this part of the coast – although not as severely as it has to the west – and there is palpable fear, sadness and tension among the people who live here. No one knows from one day to the next what will happen. This fragile little stretch of beach is one of my favorite places on earth, and it’s heartbreaking to think of what might be coming. We have to stop the madness. We have to kick the oil addiction and move on. We simply have to. Here’s a good place to start.
The Secret Of Life is a good cup of coffee…
But you need a good mug to drink it from. By popular demand, we’re bringing back the Secret Of Life coffee mugs we sold on the road a few years ago. But they’re sorely in need of a style update. A fan on Twitter suggested that instead of using a professional artist, we ask you to come up with a design – what a great idea! So all of you who are talented artists, designers or dabblers in things graphic, please send us your ideas!
The Fine Print: Your design should be one color, sized for a standard diner mug. It should contain the phrase “The secret of life is a good cup of coffee”. Please send only high res JPGs, TIFFs, or GIFs. By entering this contest you are giving us the right to reproduce your design on a commercially available mug for no financial consideration. If a winning design is chosen, winner will receive a personalized, autographed copy of the CD of his or her choice, and a pair of mugs. Winner will also receive gratitude, kudos, virtual high-fives, and his or her photo (if desired) in a future newsletter.
UK pitches in for Nashville flood relief
To all our friends from the UK who donated money during our recent tour, I want to pass along this thank-you from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee:
Dear Gretchen –
Thanks for helping to organize this collection of funds for The Community Foundation’s flood relief efforts. We are so appreciative!
The money raised while on tour in the U.K. has been donated to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit organization in Nashville, TN that is working with the community to address its immediate and long-term needs from the May 2010 floods. The Community Foundation is collecting donations and making grants to non-profit organizations working on the frontlines who are providing direct services and have established systems in place to assess needs and get help to the people who need it.
Please let me know if you need anything else and please pass along our thanks to your fans for their generosity!
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Heading back across the pond…
Barry Walsh and I are coming back to the UK in July to do a few dates, including the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival (22-25 July) and the 2010 Cambridge Folk Festival (29 July – 1 August). You can see the full lineup for both festivals at the Cambridge Festival site and the Trowbridge Festival site. Specific stages and times are below.
I will be doing a songwriting workshop while at Cambridge – the workshop will take place on Sunday in the Club Tent at 10:00AM. If you’d like to stop by and chat and get CDs or programmes signed, I will also be doing a session in the signing tent – please check the Festival programme for date & time.
Trowbridge Village Pump Festival
Sunday, July 25 – 3:15PM – Stage TBA
Cambridge Folk Festival
Saturday July 31 – 8:25PM – Stage 2
Sunday August 1 – songwriting workshop – Club Tent, 10:00AM
Sunday August 1 – 1:00PM – Stage 1
In addition to the festivals, we’ll be appearing on Terry Wogan’s live radio show, Weekend Wogan on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday, July 25 at 11AM. Tune in to BBC Radio 2 or listen online at the website.
Colorado and California dates added
We are heading west at the end of August for what has become our annual tour. Dates posted so far include Durango, CO; Vacaville, CA (the Art, Wine & Brew festival) and Venice, CA (a special night presented by Grassroots Acoustica to benefit Alzheimer’s research). More dates are being confirmed – check out the tour schedule here, and keep checking back for updates.
Fun fan video!
Recently someone sent me a link to this video set to “Sunday Morning (Up And Down My Street)”. Check it out – clever, no? If you have made (or know of) any other fun or interesting videos set to any of my songs, let me know and I’ll share them here.
Download of the Month
By popular demand, this month’s download is a live version of “The Letter”, a song Barry and I started doing as a sort of tribute to Alex Chilton, who passed away suddenly last spring. Barry played with Alex as a touring member of The Box Tops for nine years. We recorded this at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, where we were fortunate to have Bill Cunningham, an original Box Top, in the audience. Visit the Download page to get July’s free download. Enjoy.