As we stood on the stage of the Grand Old Opry for sound check on Saturday afternoon, one of the stage guys came over and drew a line across his chest. I asked him what that was about. He said, “That’s the floodline. If you were here 4 1/2 months ago you would barely be holding your head up out of muddy water.” The stage was easily 4 feet above the first row of seats. Outside, the Cumberland River was flowing lazily along its path several hundred yards to the West and about 20 feet down from ground level. Now we were in a totally revamped and refurbished Opry – AMAZING!
That night we did two shows to two wonderful audiences. Each show was only two songs long because of the rapid-fire pace of the Opry. The 1st set we did “ Moon So High” and “The Angels Came Down”. The 2nd set we did “Turn It On” and “Angels”. Even though the sets were not televised, they did go out on several radio networks. We found out a day later that the Opry’s e-mail and phone lines were filled with calls from people who wanted to know more about the band and the song about the Civil War and All Wars. That made us feel pretty good. We also got to hear some great music from other musicians: The Band Perry, Craig Morgan, George Hamilton IV, Whispering Bill Andersen, Charlie Pride, Jimmy Dickens, Jean Shepard and many other great artists.
The Crew at the Opry is the best – great people – great sound.
Thanks to everyone involved in bringing us back to the Opry. We look forward to coming back soon!
We’re back from our whirlwind show in Almaty, Kazakhstan. After arriving at the Royal Tulip Hotel at 4AM on Thursday, we all decided to get a little rest. It was a long flight over half way across the world – almost exactly. For John and Larry in Tucson – a 3 hour flight to Houston – layover; 9 hours to Frankfurt – layover; then 6 more hours to Almaty. and crossing so many time zones that our day was completely flipped. Kevin had to go testify again in Washington on his way over – this time to Homeland Security to try and convince people in charge that his plan for first response to an oil spill is the best most promising approach. There is no real first response plan with any detail from the government or the oil industry that exists right now even after the Deep Horizon disaster. So Kevin didn’t get to Kazakhstan until early Friday morning. After sleeping for a while, he was up and working – interviews, press conferences, meet and greets, lunches, dinners, rehearsals, proposals, entertainment etc etc……. He never stops when he’s on the road. He rarely is given the chance.
For those of you unfamiliar with Kazakhstan, as we were, let me say first that “Borat” is about as far away from the truth as you can get. In fact it’s embarrassing to think about how Kazakhs were portrayed in that film and how much attention the film got in this country and the world….and how false and (in the name of comedy) how belittling to a country with a vital art and intellectual community.
Kazakhstan is the first country in the world to unilaterally get rid of all nuclear weaponry.
It is hosting the Asian Winter Olympics next year in state of the art facilities. It has a vital film industry. Many of it’s citizens attend universities around the world. It is one of the richest countries in Asia……….
Well….we had a great time – played about 1 ½ hours Saturday night to a standing room only crowd. Kazakhs love R&R. After the show we went to a reception then arrived back at the hotel in time to pack and head for the airport. We left Almaty at 4AM on Sunday morning with no sleep but with a lot of great memories….. We’ll be back.
Yes Kasakhstan! After a flurry of last minute negotiations, the Modern Westerners are headed to Almaty K. on Tuesday to play at the opera house. We’ll only be gone less than a week but we’ll be in the air maybe half that time – on the ground 1/3 of the time – in airports 1/4 of the time and then that leaves a few minutes on stage.
We’ll be playing a benefit at the 5th Eurasia International Film Festival.
It has been said that the first apple was found here near Almaty – the first apple of the world – then I guess it went to Eden – it was the apple right? Maybe not. I’m watching the Arizona State football game at the Phoenix Airport and having a shot of tequila as I head to Carpinteria to spend a day singing with Kevin before we go. Kevin is going to Washington to testify again and then flies to Almaty where we will meet up with him. We’ll keep you posted…..
We’ll also keep you posted on the developments surrounding one of our new songs -“Gulf Of Mexico”. We are donating all proceeds from the song to one of the environmental groups in Louisiana.
It’s hard to believe that 5 years have gone by since Katrina devastated New Orleans – and now we have the new disaster which seems to have magically “cured itself” overnight according to some. What happened to the millions and millions of barrels of oil which flowed into the gulf? Well according to some reports it has disappeared – so microscopic that you would not even know it’s there – BUT now someone recently discovered a plume of oil 22 miles long……strange.
Well now we’ve all but forgotten that hundreds of thousands of people were displaced – sent to Houston and other parts of the country after Katrina. Others are still living in trailers while people have been charged money to tear down their homes because they were underwater for weeks.
We still play “5 Minutes From America” because we believe that now more people than ever are:
“Just 5 minutes from America
You can see it very clear.
Just 5 minutes from America
But you can’t get there from here”
We have a new song called “Gulf Of Mexico” which we will be releasing on its own soon. The proceeds from sales will go to a charity (we’re not sure which one yet). So look for it soon. We’re also planning to release our new CD “Turn It On” in the US by the end of the year.
From “Gulf Of Mexico”:
“I’ll pray every night
‘Till darkness turns to light
And a new wind blows
I’m not saying goodbye to the Gulf of Mexico.”
Thanks for all the wonderful comments from our VANCOUVER SHOW. I want to move there……………….someday
We had a wonderful couple of shows at the Avalon Ballroom – great crew –friendly and hard-working. We’ve played there a few times before but each time seems special. This time not only did we have some of the best crowds but we had the opportunity to play with a great fiddler/violinist Roddy Chiong. Roddy fortunately was available to perform on short notice and did an incredible job for us. He plays with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and with Shania Twain. We’re all looking forward to playing with him again. He lives in L.A. and is also pursuing an acting career. Check him out on youtube.
…….. and if you are ever in Niagara Falls on the Canada side, go to the Falls Greenhouse and you’ll see one of the most fabulous orchid collections in the world.
Thanks Linda for coming all the way from Europe to hear us!
Halifax lies in one of the most beautiful locations in the world – on the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia. Famous for it’s lobster and scallops (which we partook of with great delight) it also hosts a country music festival attended by several thousand loud and enthusiastic fans. We got to hear some great music including Lonestar and Alan Jackson.
We are still an unknown quantity in most parts of the world. Halifax was no exception but they welcomed us and embraced our style of country/rock even though they really didn’t know our songs.
Sadly we have to tell you that we’re not coming to Europe this September as we had announced. Those shows have been moved into next year.
There was the usual small bottle of Patron in our dressing room behind the stage at Camrose Big Valley Jamboree – nothing special – the usual for our ritual toast prior to each performance we do. However this bottle was the one we should have had last year when the stage collapsed. They had saved it for us all year long until we returned. It obviously had a great significance to us since on that day last year Donna Moore was killed and many people seriously injured including Park and our tour manager Mark Botting. We celebrated Donna that evening even though we did not know her. We each said a silent prayer for her and her family before the show. $100,000 dollars was raised in an auction for her kids earlier in the weekend.
The great fans at Big Valley welcomed us back in style as well. To salute them, their country who has sent their own into harm’s way along side of ours, and to remember Donna, we played “The Angels Came Down” just before “Superman 14” to end the set. Thank you all for welcoming us back.
Prior to our set we all had the pleasure of listening to the great Ronnie Milsap who still sings and writes with a conviction rarely heard in county music today.
We are headed up to Niagara Falls for two shows at Fallsview Casino on Thursday and Friday – the 5th and 6th – then to Nova Scotia on Sat.
We heard rumors that some friends from Europe are coming to Fallsview. Is that true? Also……… Who , among our friends in Canada, are coming to the shows? Are the twins coming………..?
Ludmilla – you came last year – had to break the bank to come – but I heard you can’t make it this year. I’ll say hello to you from all of us…..Thanks for coming then – We’ll see you and your husband soon.
Last Friday Kevin, along with Daisy (his faithful white Lab), flew into Edmonton with Jan Folk and friends for our concert at Big Valley Jamboree. You probably don’t know Jan – but – she is the visionary, the philanthropist, and the founder of Orangedog. She’s from Edmonton, Canada and just recently happened to fly 140 homeless dogs from Orange County, California in a private jet to Edmonton and then found homes for all of them except one. That one was adopted by the pilot of the plane before it got to Edmonton. And….that wasn’t the first time she flew little dogs in a private jet from O to E. Kevin is a big time supporter of Jan and her cool idea… Do your research online and see what an incredible story it is.
Edmonton has a shortage of small dogs and Orange County has a surplus – so much of a surplus that they are killing dogs by the second down there because there are not enough homes for them. We all know the story….cute little puppy….. but too much to handle when the puppy becomes a living dog who needs walking and feeding and time to poop and a little love. Well, Jan convinced the sweet-hearted owner of a private jet company (the kind of company that flies rich people around the world) to use his down time to help stray dogs from Southern Cal live a full and meaningful life with someone in Edmonton who is freezing his or her ass off in the long winters with no one to love and cuddle in the long cold nights (as opposed to the Long Hot Nights down in Tucson where the only thing you want to cuddle is an ice cube or a wet sheet). The airline company is Global Exec Aviation run by Ramon Manriquez. Try them out sometime when you are SICK AND TIRED OF AIRLINES WHO KEEP LOSING YOUR BAGGAGE AND YOUR GUITARS AND SOMETIME EVEN LOSING YOURSELF! Global Exec might be a little pricey for a trip to see Grandma in Columbus, Ohio for the weekend….. but, Ramon’s got a heart of gold. That’s the way people should use their money! Don’t you wish there were more people around like Jan, Ramon, and Kevin?
Modern Westerners love dogs, cats, snakes, rodents, bugs, spiders, horses, cows, buffaloes, alligators etc……………
The sun finally broke through the clouds above Wisconsin and the show went on at Country Thunder last Saturday. It still rained off and on through the afternoon but nobody really cared. Hardly anyone even ran for cover because who would want to miss Craig Morgan or Collin Raye. What great talents. We were honored to be on the same stage as those guys and of course the headliner Miranda Lambert who came out with all guns firing. We had a great time playing as the sun went down – finishing as usual with Superman 14 and Kevin running down the walkway thanking people and shaking hands. We also played “Johnny Stole A Cadillac” for the first time in a year. That was a lot of fun. Most people still don’t know our songs but they were encouraging and supportive and know how to have a good time.
This week we are headed up to the Big Valley Jamboree where the big tragedy occurred last summer when the stage collapsed in a violent storm. We never got the chance to play so we are looking forward to coming back and spending a day and shaking off some bad old memories with some good rock and roll.
First of all we want to thank everyone in the Ottawa area and everyone in the Regina area for coming to the festivals. Wow! You Canadians really know how to put on a festival. The Ottawa Blues Fest, right in beautiful downtown Ottawa, had an incredible lineup of musicians and music of all kinds – and that means everything from pure country to the amazing Martin Sexton to some great R&B to the incredible Jimmy Cliff. It went on for 12 days. We had a fantastic time and made a lot of new friends who now know that KCMW is not a FLUKE.
About 30 miles outside of Regina (some new friends here told us that Regina rhymes with fun – I didn’t say it so don’t get all over me about it) there is a beautiful green valley which is the location of the kick-ass festival called Craven Country Jamboree. Out in the middle of nowhere there were 32,000 fans ready to rock and roll. The weather was magnificent (so was our tequila before the show – you probably remember that we always have a toast before we go on) and the fans were too. Most of them didn’t know what to expect from us although I did see a few “Turn It On” CDs in the audience. By the end of the show we were finishing “Superman14” and Kevin was out on the walkway running through the audience shaking hands and blowing kisses and the band just kept rocking out on that great riff, which Teddy came up with at the end of the song — people were up on their feet – we just didn’t want it to end – man it just doesn’t get any better than that………unless……..we just happen to be in Europe – which is looking more and more like it’s going to happen. Two shows in Armenia – Two in Austria and one in London – maybe one in Ireland -all in late September. We should have some dates for you by the end of the week.
You want to know something else? Kenny Chesney ROCKS! – got a knockout 4 piece horn section, an incredible percussion guy who played with The Wailers, and some amazing guitarists – and they are all great people. There were 32,000 fans on their feet as 4 jets roared overhead on a low flyby……………..and the band rocked on into the summer night